Public involvement and risk communication in food safety governance: lessons from listeria monocytogenes and vulnerable groups

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mikulsen, maciej
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With a primary focus on Health Canada (HC) and the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA), this thesis describes the state of microbial related public involvement and risk communication undertakings. The findings show that HC engages with experts to a far greater extent than with the lay public and that HC has not upheld its stated commitment to transparency. Furthermore, both HC’s and the CFIA´s approach to risk communication is overly general, has failed to provide opportunities for dialogue with vulnerable groups and is not rooted in foodborne surveillance data. Public involvement in food safety governance would be improved if HC provided the lay public with a seat on advisory committees and improved its reporting methods. HC and the CFIA could also make improvements by creating opportunities for dialogue between officials and the general public, and by exploring the potential use of alternative risk communication vehicles, such as food labels.
food safety, risk communication, public involvement, listeriosis