Food risk management quality: Consumer evaluations of past and emerging food safety incidents

Ellen van Kleef, Øydis Ueland, Gregory Theodoridis, Gene Rowe, Uwe Pfenning, Julie Houghton, Heleen van Dijk, Georgios Chrysochoidis, Lynn Frewer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


In European countries, there has been growing consumer distrust regarding the motives of food safety regulators and other actors in the food chain, partly as a result of recent food safety incidents. If consumer confidence in food safety is to be improved, a systematic understanding of what consumers perceive to be best practice in risk management is crucial. Previous qualitative and quantitative research has revealed underlying factors determining consumer perceptions of food risk management quality. The aim of the current case studies is to provide ‘proof of principles’ of these different factors against historic and emerging food safety incidents. Participants in four countries were questioned about country specific case studies, guided by the earlier findings regarding factors that determine perceived good practice in food risk management. In each country, two food safety incidents were selected. Semi-structured interviews with at least 25 participants per case study were conducted in Germany (BSE; nematode worms in fish), Greece (mould in Greek yogurt/carcinogenic honey crisis; avian influenza), Norway (E. coli in meat; contaminants in Norwegian salmon) and the UK (BSE; contaminants in Scottish salmon). The results generally confirm the importance of the previously identified factors, which help to explain relative perceptions of well and poorly managed incidents. Differences and similarities across countries and cases are detailed, and implications for future efforts to communicate about risk management are drawn.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-163
Number of pages27
JournalHealth, Risk & Society
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • food safety
  • consumer evaluations
  • food risk management
  • trust
  • food safety incidents

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