Understanding people

communication, consumers, participation, research, risk, trust
First published in the EFSA Journal
8 July 2019
29 May 2019
Special Issue


In democratic societies moving towards increased participation, it is more important than ever that the values, thoughts, understanding, attitudes and behaviours of the communities and public that we serve are properly and proportionately included in the evidence base for decision‐making around risk, particularly when it comes to food. Not to do so undermines our trustworthiness and our licence to operate as regulators and is likely to compromise the quality and effectiveness of our communication. Moreover, each risk has its own characteristics that will affect how it is perceived and how it should be managed. This article sets out some of the ways that social research strategies, usually harnessing the direct input of citizens, contribute to the evidence base used for risk analysis and includes some practical examples of methods that have been used by the Food Standards Agency in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

michelle.patel [at] food.gov.uk
EFSA Journal 2019;17(S1):e170716