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Risk communication among stakeholders is the essential element behind decisions about risk management measures in the food safety field. However, risk communication has not always been favorably done. Slovic (1999) pointed out that unsuccessful risk management can be traced, in part, to a failure to appreciate the complex and socially determined nature of the concept "risk". The majority of risk perception studies with Socio-psychological models have focused on multi-dimensional characteristics of risk/hazard that have substantial influence on the subjective evaluation of risks. The identified factors of characteristics in these studies, however, cannot suitably explain the characteristics of food related risks. In this study, we re-investigated the factors that influence the perceived magnitude of food-related risks by a laddering method survey in Japan, Korea and the U.S.. The results show that the public have judged the high/low of risk level by 3 categories of factors: perceived risk/hazard characteristics, perceived personal factors and perceived social factors. Severity of damage to health, cause of illness, accumulation in body, benefit and natural/artificial origin were the major factors categorized in perceived risk/hazard characteristics. Perceived personal factors consist of experience, knowledge and association of terrible scene/image. Exposure to information and trust in government/experts were regarded as perceived social factors. A structural model of food-related risk perception might possibly be constructed by adding worldview and general trust to the above 3 factors. This model will be statistically analyzed in the continuous empirical cross-cultural studies.


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