Public Interests and Values in Multi-Level Food Risk Governance: European Responses to Avian Influenza

M.P.M.M. de Krom, P.J.M. Oosterveer, A.P.J. Mol

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A recent series of food crises in Europe brought home the idea that food risk governance should be informed by sound science as well as by public interests and values to foster trust in food. Yet, how such public perspectives are to be included at the EU and member state levels, and what impacts such incorporation has on public trust in food, remains unclear. This paper studies European food risk governance of ‘H5N1’ avian influenza—a major risk facing Europe after EU and member state food policy frameworks were substantially reformed. It analyses the inclusion of sound science in combination with public interests and values in governing food risks from avian influenza in three member states (the Netherlands, France, and the UK) and at the EU level. The paper concludes with discussing political and epistemological tensions that emerge from using universalistic scientific knowledge and multivalent public risk experiences as separate bases for policy decisions and reflects on the effects of these tensions on public trust in food.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-177
JournalJournal of Environmental Policy and Planning
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • policy
  • consumer

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