chapter  5
Essential elements for interactive risk communication in food-related emergencies
A model and experiments on the health effects of radioactive substances
ByYoko Niiyama
Pages 24

Risk communication, an interactive process of exchange of information and opinions on risks among stakeholders, is the most important element in risk analysis for food safety. However, we have no effective model of interactive risk communication yet. In practice, it is faced with a number of difficulties. As parts of its background, people psychologically and subjectively evaluate the risk of the health effects and their knowledge is limited by their restricted information environment. We need to know the characteristics of the public risk perception, to understand public questions about the health effects, and to provide occasions of risk communication corresponding to their status.

We cover a case of risk communication in an emergency – the health effects of radioactive substances derived from Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster – identifying the structure of public risk perception and the status of public knowledge. Then we suggest some essential elements, related to scientific information and communication methods, based on the results of experimentations of an interactive risk communication model. A key is that public questions are probed, full scientific information that addresses those questions is prepared by a team of experts, and the occasions of elaborate information processing for the public are provided.