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Introducing a Message-Centered Approach to Risk Communication

Part of the Food Microbiology and Food Safety book series (FMFS)

The latency phase of risk threats is coming to an end. The invisible hazards are becoming visible. Damage to and destruction of nature no longer occur outside our personal experience in the sphere of chemical, physical or biological chains of effects; instead they strike more and more clearly our eyes, ears and noses.—Ulrich Beck, Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity (Beck, 1992, p. 55)

In its most basic form, risk is the absence of certainty. If we are absolutely certain of the results an action will produce, that action has no risk. In reality, we rarely, if ever, have the luxury of absolute certainty. Uncertainty, therefore, is the “central variable” in the risk perception and communication process (Palenchar & Heath, 2002, p. 131). In the absence of certainty, we must calculate the likely outcome of our activities based on the available information. From this perspective, risk is neither good nor bad. Rather, risk is a fundamental part of life. The way we manage risk, however,...

Keywords

Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy Risk Issue Risk Communication Risk Situation Crisis Event 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2009

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