Food Safety Crisis Management—A Comparison between Germany and the Netherlands

E.D. van Asselt*, Ine van der Fels, O. Breuer, I. Helsloot

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


In order to prevent food safety incidents from becoming a crisis, a good crisis management structure is essential. The aim of the current study was to compare and evaluate the national food incident response plans of 2 neighboring EU Member States: Germany and the Netherlands. This revealed that the structure of these plans is comparable, starting with initial alerting, assessment of the problem, upscaling, an execution phase and finally an evaluation of the crisis management. However, the German communication structure is more complex than the Dutch one and cross-border communication between both countries is currently limited. In general, the presence of national response plans does not guarantee a good and swift response to a food safety incident as this is often hampered by difficulties in tracing the source of the problem as well as difficulties in communication between organizations involved in crisis management. A timely detection can be improved through the development of fast screening and detecting systems and through combining various data sources using computer software systems. Mutual cooperation and communication can be improved through joint exercises or projects. This will help to streamline communication toward consumers and trade partners. Such communication should be transparent relaying not only the facts but also the uncertainties in a crisis in order to gain consumer trust and safeguard international trade.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-483
JournalJournal of Food Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • crisis management
  • emergency response
  • food safety incidents


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