Presentation on theme: "Food risk management practices: consumer evaluations of past and emerging food safety incidents Ellen van Kleef, Heleen van Dijk, Julie Houghton, Athanasios."— Presentation transcript:
Food risk management practices: consumer evaluations of past and emerging food safety incidents Ellen van Kleef, Heleen van Dijk, Julie Houghton, Athanasios Krystallis, Uwe Pfenning, Gene Rowe, Gregory Theodoridis, Øydis Ueland, Lynn Frewer and SAFEFOODS workpackage 4 members [a] [a] George Chryssochoidis, Hilde Mortvedt, Britt Signe Granli WP4 SAFE FOODS [a]
Consumer research on food risk management Literature review Focus group discussion in five EU countries, with consumers and food safety experts Large-scale survey in five EU countries Consumer information experiments In-depth consumer interviews about cases Germany (BSE; Nematode worms in fish), Greece (mould in Greek yogurt/carcinogenic honey incident; Avian Influenza), Norway (E-coli O103 in meat; contaminants in Norwegian salmon) UK (BSE; contaminants in Scottish salmon).
The consumers point of view 1.Proactive consumer protection 2.Transparency 3.Trust 4.Priority setting 5.Education and media
Proactive consumer protection (1) Communicating to the public which efforts are being done is a key factor of good risk management across all countries studies Consumers want authorities to show efforts regarding: systems of control in place (make them obvious) Focus on prevention and inspection Respond quickly when a food safety problem appears
Proactive consumer protection (2) Quote UK consumer about BSE crisis in relation to the authorities proactivity: There seemed to be quite a bit of floundering around amongst the policy makers at one stage. You know, beef was perfectly safe and then there was a half-way position when well it might be ok if we change the feed thats given to cattle and then it might be ok if we move some of the offal in the slaughterhouse […] and they seemed to be constantly changing and I think that reduced confidence. And I suppose in retrospect it would appear that they didnt really know what they were doing and they were making up their policies on the hoof.
Proactive consumer protection (3) Experts are slightly more positive than consumers because of believed efficacy of well-developed and implemented control systems Being proactive is particularly needed when experts are uncertain in their risk assessments Be careful: consumers perceive information overload about food safety Information not consistent or confusing Sensational media coverage Information difficult to understand
Results experiment: vitamin A Potato Uncertainty x Proactive When there is high uncertainty about the risks associated with the VAP, people prefer proactive FRM activities. When there is low uncertainty about the risks associated with the VAP, people prefer low proactive FRM activities. F(1)=9.85, p<0.01
Consumers are sometimes skeptical about risk assessment, science and scientific progress Varies across countries: particularly in UK, less or not in other countries studied (e.g. Denmark) Transparency in food risk management
Quantitative results survey: country differences Proactiv e Sceptical Trust in expertise FRM quality (0. 51*)(0. 27*)(1.97*)(0. 57*)(0. 45*) (-0.22)(-0.34*)(-0.30*)(-0.16*)(-0.71) (*p<0.05) (0.57*)(0.99*)(0.30)(0.87*)(0.94*) Opaque Trust in honesty
Trust in risk managers is more positive when they are open about the decisions they made than when they were closed Admitting an occasional mistake could make risk managers more trustworthy because It shows they are open and honest People accept that even experts make mistakes sometimes Transparency in food risk management (2) (see also White and Eiser, 2006)
Trust in food risk managers Trustworthiness is largely determined by Perceived competence of food risk managers (expertise is key factor across countries) Value similarity Power and ability to act Accessibility
Priority setting in food risk management Consumers wonder whether motivation of risk management is primarily consumer protection So, I have ranked mad cow disease as being the best under control. And I have put it there because it has to do with export. It does not have very much to do with whether the rest of us get the mad cow disease. [Danish consumer about BSE] Im not aware whether the government pursued any studies. […] It was a closing off type thing, or an attempted closing off, because they were quite concerned that the bottom would fall out of the [salmon fishing] industry if they werent quite careful how they did it and too much openness would probably have been commercially quite damaging I would assume. [UK consumer about Salmon]
Media Perceived quality of management is largely determined by amount of media attention High levels of media attention potentially indicate good and bad risk management practices (institutional attention, what went wrong, sensational images) Only experts believe that media attention is causing unnecessary worry among consumers
Effective food risk management/communication Implications Communicate on a continuous basis about what is being done Communicate about expertise upon which management systems are based Understand country differences in public opinion, information needs Be open about decisions made Target communication at vulnerable groups Important: consumer trust in motives of crisis manager
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