Food experts say public has inadequate understanding of food risk issues

February 21, 2006

A recent study shows that food safety experts have little confidence in the public's understanding of food risk issues. The study is published in the Journal of Food Safety.

Researchers surveyed 400 food safety experts in Ireland to determine what they think about the public's understanding and knowledge of food risk issues, including factors such as what they think contribute to this knowledge as well as the gaps in understanding, and how they feel this could be rectified.

The experts believe that the public under-assesses the risk associated with some bacteriological hazards that are prevalent and overestimate the risks posed by hazards with low prevalence such as mad cow disease. They noted that the level of education and age were important determinants for the level of understanding of risk issues and messages, but also were of the view that the media tend to communicate information that is misleading.

"Public perception of risk is very different from scientists' understanding of risk, hence the meaning and response to 'risk' differs between the public and scientists," say researchers.

The experts surveyed suggest that early intervention via school curricula is the best method to improve understanding of food risk messages in the long term. Furthermore, because the media has the ability to improve awareness and knowledge on these issues, these experts would be interested in training on how to interact with the media.

The implications of this research affect the development for future food risk communication policy, in particular how food safety experts are involved in the process, both directly and indirectly, add researchers. Further research is needed to explore more deeply the role food safety experts should play in food risk communication.
-end-
This study is published in the Journal of Food Safety. Media who would like a PDF of this paper should contact ProfessionalNews@bos.blackwellpublishing.net.

Corresponding author of the study Mary McCarthy, BSc, MBA, PhD of the Department of Food Business and Development at the University College Cork in Ireland, is available for questions and interviews at m.mccarthy@ucc.ie or + 353 21 4902075.

About the Journal
The Journal of Food Safety emphasizes mechanistic studies involving inhibition, injury, and metabolism of food poisoning microorganisms, as well as the regulation of growth and toxin production in both model systems and complex food substrates. It also focuses on pathogens which cause food-borne illness, helping readers understand the factors affecting the initial detection of parasites, their development, transmission, and methods of control and destruction.

About Blackwell Publishing
Blackwell Publishing is the world's leading society publisher, partnering with more than 665 academic, medical, and professional societies. Blackwell publishes over 800 journals and, to date, has published close to 6,000 text and reference books, across a wide range of academic, medical, and professional subjects.

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Related Food Safety Articles from Brightsurf:

USDA says current poultry food safety guidelines do not stop salmonella outbreaks
Current poultry food safety guidelines for Salmonella, the leading cause of foodborne illness outbreaks, are inadequate.

Food safety model may help pandemic management
No precedent exists for managing the COVID-19 pandemic - although a plan for working through major public food scares may point to the best ways of alerting and communicating with the public.

Food safety investments open new markets, boost revenue for small farmers
A new Cornell University study finds that when small-scale farmers are trained in food safety protocols and develop a farm food safety plan, new markets open up to them, leading to an overall gain in revenue.

Researchers print, tune graphene sensors to monitor food freshness, safety
Researchers are using high-resolution printing technology and the unique properties of graphene to make low-cost biosensors to monitor food safety and livestock health.

COVID-19 from food safety and biosecurity perspective
Most recently emerged pneumonia of unknown cause named COVID-19 has a devastating impact on public health and economy surpassing its counterparts in morbidity and mortality.

Amperometric sensors assist in analyzing food safety
Antioxidants are one of the most interesting and widely investigated compounds in life sciences due to their key role in the protection of living systems from the negative effects of free radicals.

Advancing frozen food safety: UGA evaluates environmental monitoring programs
Arlington, Va. - New research funded by the Frozen Food Foundation evaluates current environmental monitoring practices being implemented across the frozen food industry to prevent and control Listeria monocytogenes (Lm).

Advancing frozen food safety: Cornell develops novel food safety assessment tool
New research funded by the Frozen Food Foundation developed a modeling tool to assist the frozen food industry with understanding and managing listeriosis risks.

Computer program aids food safety experts with pathogen testing
Cornell University scientists have developed a computer program, Environmental Monitoring With an Agent-Based Model of Listeria (EnABLe), to simulate the most likely locations in a processing facility where the deadly food-borne pathogen Listeria monocytogenes might be found.

New graphene-based sensor design could improve food safety
In the US, more than 100 food recalls were issued in 2017 because of contamination from harmful bacteria such as Listeria, Salmonella or E. coli.

Read More: Food Safety News and Food Safety Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.