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Main viewpoints and methods of food safety risk communication

Issuing time:2021-06-10 16:51

The risk communication of food safety needs the support and guidance of laws and regulations. According to the food safety law of the people's Republic of China, a food safety risk assessment system shall be established to assess the risks of biological, chemical and physical hazards in food and food additives (Article 13). The administrative department of health under the State Council shall, together with the relevant departments under the State Council, make a comprehensive analysis of the food safety situation according to the results of food safety risk assessment and the information of food safety supervision and management. The administrative department of public health under the State Council shall, in a timely manner, issue a food safety risk warning for the food that may have a high degree of safety risk according to the comprehensive analysis, and publish it (Article 17). Establish a unified food safety information disclosure system (Article 82). The scope of information uniformly announced by the administrative department of the State Council has been formulated《 The principle of "risk analysis" is not mentioned in the food safety law, so it is impossible to mention "risk communication"《 The regulations for the implementation of the food safety law does not give a comprehensive explanation or explanation of risk communication. At present, the risk communication process lacks legal status. In addition, "risk communication" is sometimes understood as risk management, or as part of it, or simply as regulation publicity or media control. The administrative responsibility of risk communication is vague, and the roles and tasks of food safety management and participants in risk communication need to be refined.

  There are still some obvious misunderstanding in the process of food safety risk exchange, and we need to deepen understanding and overcome. For example, risk exchange is understood as public education. The main reason of risk exchange is not the public education because the object of risk exchange is not "students", but consumers; And the composition of consumers is very broad. It is often considered that the report of GF or the party with more resources must be correct when the risk exchange is understood as public relations. It is not easy to tell consumers or the public that certain foods are safe, and the result of this does not necessarily reassure consumers. Because consumers want to understand the whole process of decision-making, the scientificity of decision-making and transparency of the process are the basis for improving the effect of risk exchange.

  GF investment or practice of risk communication is not proportional to consumer satisfaction. The concept of risk communication began in the 1970s, and its international recognition only started at the end of the last century. Its theoretical system, research methods, norms and guidelines are not perfect, and even some areas are blank. At present, employees still need professional foundation, specialized theory and skill training, and employees in food enterprises also need enthusiasm and ability to participate. It is worth mentioning that improving consumers' cognitive level and acceptance ability is a long-term task, which requires the unremitting efforts of the whole society.

  From the perspective of technology and management, the international research on food safety risk communication attaches great importance to the research on risk perception, risk perception and the relationship between them (Figure 4). There are many differences or distances between experts engaged in food safety research and consumers' response to the same food safety incident, that is, the vacuum zone. If we do not understand these differences or do not narrow the distance, it will affect the effect of risk communication. As far as experts are concerned, they have certain knowledge background and their own (active) cognitive ability, and their research reports or statements are based on facts or research results; The communication focuses on what are the hazards that lead to food safety incidents, how likely they are, and the risks of those hazards are not clear or unknown, that is, uncertainty. Consumers' participation in risk communication may be based on their own feelings (passive type) or information obtained from the media, and their judgment of risk may be based on their importance, their value or subjective impact. There is often a large distance between them. It is found that consumer behavior, including cultural background, is related to food safety incidents and reaction degree. These problems also need the joint efforts of food safety experts, risk communication experts, consumer behavior experts and management experts to gradually narrow the distance and the vacuum zone.

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