Risk Communication

Risk communication is the process of engaging stakeholders (all interested parties, including consumers, producers, scientists in academia, industry, and government, and various professional or advocacy organizations) in dialogues about risk, its assessment, and its management. The risk assessor might take responsibility for explaining in nontechnical terms the data, models, and results of the risk assessment. The risk manager is responsible for explaining the rationales for various alternative risk management strategies based on the risk assessment. The stakeholders also have a responsibility both to communicate their concerns and to review and understand the risk assessment and risk management options. Some principles for agencies to apply in risk communications are listed in Table 3.3.

TABLE 3.2. General Principles of Food Safety Risk Management from Joint F AO/

WHO Expert Consultation on the Application of Risk Management to Food Safety,

Rome, Italy (1996; www.fao.org/WAICENTIFAOINFOIECONOMICIESNIriskl


1. Risk management should follow a structured approach.

2. Protection of human health should be the primary consideration in risk management decisions.

3. Risk management decisions and practices should be transparent.

4. Determination of risk assessment policy should be included as a specific component of risk management.

5. Risk management should ensure the scientific integrity of the risk assessment process by maintaining the functional separation of risk management and risk assessment.

6. Risk management decisions should take into account the uncertainty in the output of the risk assessment.

7. Risk management should include clear, interactive communication with consumers and other interested parties in all aspects of the process.

8. Risk management should be a continuing process that takes into account all newly generated data in the evaluation and review of risk management decisions.

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