[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In designing and implementing appropriate food risk management strategies, it is important to examine how key stakeholders perceive both the practice and effectiveness of food risk management. The objective of this study is to identify similarities and differences in perceptions of, and attitudes to, food risk management practices held by consumers and experts with an interest in food safety. Focus groups were conducted in five European countries chosen for their (hypothesised) cultural differences in attitudes towards risk: Denmark, Germany, Greece, Slovenia and the UK. Content analysis was carried out on the resulting texts and (sub) categories were identified within the analysis framework to facilitate the capture of emerging themes. Five key themes were identified as common to the perceptions of both consumers and experts, although these are not represented in the same way by both groups. These key themes are: (1) efforts made by the responsible authorities to manage food risks; (2) responsibility for prevention and management of food risks; (3) how priorities are established within regulatory systems; (4) scientific progress and its implications for food risk management; and (5) media attention and food safety incidents. Although some similarities emerged between the groups, differences were also identified. For example, experts appeared to be highly negative about media influences, whereas consumers appeared more indifferent about media influences and motives. These different perspectives need to be addressed in order to reduce the perceptual distance between key stakeholders, and in particular, to enhance consumer confidence in the food risk management system. Based on the study findings, recommendations for food risk management policies are outlined.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In developing and implementing appropriate food risk management strategies, it is important
to understand how consumers evaluate the quality of food risk management practices. The aim
of this study is to model the underlying psychological factors influencing consumer evaluations
of food risk management quality using structural equation modeling techniques (SEM), and
to examine the extent to which the influence of these factors is country-specific (comparing
respondents from Denmark, Germany, Greece, Slovenia, and the United Kingdom).Asurvey
was developed to model the factors that drive consumer evaluations of food risk management
practices and their relative importance (n=2,533 total respondents). The measurement scales
included in the structural model were configurally and metrically invariant across countries.
Results show that some factors appear to drive perceptions of effective food risk management
in all the countries studied, such as proactive consumer protection, which was positively related
to consumers’ evaluation of food risk management quality, while opaque and reactive risk
management was negatively related to perceived food risk management quality. Other factors
appeared to apply only in certain countries. For example, skepticism in risk assessment and
communication practices was negatively related to food risk management quality, particularly
so in the UK. Expertise of food risk managers appeared to be a key factor in consumers’
evaluation of food risk management quality in some countries. However, trust in the honesty
of food risk managers did not have a significant effect on food risk management quality.
From the results, policy implications for food risk management are discussed and important
directions for future research are identified.