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Influence of Psychological Factors in Food Risk Assessment – A Review

Jenkins, S; Harris, A; Osman, M; (2020) Influence of Psychological Factors in Food Risk Assessment – A Review. Trends in Food Science & Technology , 103 pp. 282-292. 10.1016/j.tifs.2020.07.010. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Typically, food-related risk assessments are carried out within a four step, technical framework, as detailed by the Codex Alimentarius Commission (World Health Organization/ Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, 2015). However, the technical framework presumes a level of ‘objective risk’ and does not take into account that risk is complex and psychologically constructed, something which is rarely acknowledged within risk analysis as a whole. It is well documented that people's perceptions of risk are based on more than merely probability of occurrence, but reflect other non-technical psychological factors (e.g., risk origin, severity, controllability, familiarity). Moreover, the basis of these risk perceptions is largely similar for experts and non-experts. Scope and approach: In this review, we consider each stage of the risk assessment process from a psychological perspective, reviewing research on non-technical factors which could affect assessments of risk and subsequent risk management decisions, with a particular focus on food safety. Key Findings and Conclusions: We identify 12 factors from the psychological literature which could potentially influence how risks are assessed and characterised. Drawing on insights from this research, we propose a number of recommendations to standardise approaches in risk assessment. Acknowledging and working with the subjectivity of risk is key to ensuring the efficacy of the wider risk analysis process.

Type: Article
Title: Influence of Psychological Factors in Food Risk Assessment – A Review
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.tifs.2020.07.010
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.tifs.2020.07.010
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Experimental Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10104892
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