Understanding Consumer Rationalities: Consumer Involvement in European Food Safety Governance of Avian Influenza

M.P.M.M. de Krom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Avian influenza is one more of the recent food scares inciting shifts in European food safety governance, away from a predominantly science-based approach towards one involving scientists, policymakers, actors in the food-supply chain and consumers. While these shifts are increasingly receiving scholarly attention, sociological insight into the involvement of consumers and other actors across the multiple levels of today's food safety governance requires further development. This article aims at contributing to the understanding of consumer perspectives on food safety governance by expounding the results of an explorative research among Dutch consumers, which focused on food risks related to avian influenza. To give ample room for the construction of contextual knowledge, consumers of poultry meat were questioned at various retailers by applying a qualitative interviewing method. From this research, it is concluded that multiple consumer rationalities about food safety governance exist. As a consequence of the existence of these multiple consumer rationalities, a differentiated governance approach to restore or retain consumer confidence in food safety in view of food-related risks is more likely to be pertinent than a 'one-size-fits-all' approach.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-19
JournalSociologia Ruralis
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • environmental-policy
  • responsibility
  • perspective
  • consumption
  • risk

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