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Food Risk Studies Can Be Strengthened By Greater Public Involvement

May 13, 2010: 09:44 AM EST
A study by food experts in the U.K. has found that adding food safety activists and members of the general public to teams of technical experts examining the risks associated with food contamination often constructively expands the focus of reviews. According to the study’s author’s, the findings should help policymakers and regulators who want to attract more public participation and build public trust of expert food safety recommendations. The authors drew their conclusions from three case studies that described children’s risk from pesticide residues in apples, infection from a bacterial contaminant in chicken, and a hypothetical contamination of animal feed with a toxin. One drawback of the process, the authors noted, was the fact that lay people sometimes dominated technical discussions with descriptions of personal experiences.
G. C. Barker, C. Bayley, A. Cassidy, S. French, A. Hart, P. K. Malakar, J. Maule, M. Petkov, and R. Shepherd, "Can a Participatory Approach Contribute to Food Chain Risk Analysis?", Risk Analysis, May 13, 2010, © Society for Risk Analysis
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