Communication About Food Safety
In a thorough review of risk communication, William Leiss identified three phases in the evolution of risk communication practices (Leiss 1996: 85ff). The first phase of risk communication emphasized the necessity of conveying probabilistic thinking to the general public and to educate the laypersons to acknowledge and accept the risk management practices of the respective institutions. The most prominent instrument of risk communication in phase 1 was the application of risk comparisons. If anyone was willing to accept x fatalities as a result of voluntary activities, they should be obliged to accept another voluntary activity with less than x fatalities. However, this logic failed to convince audiences: people were unwilling to abstract from the context of risk-taking and the corresponding social conditions, and they also rejected the reliance on expected values as the only benchmarks for evaluating risks.