Meyer, Samantha B
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In the past two decades, food industries in developed countries have experienced increasing numbers of food scares that have resulted in increased consumer concerns about the safety of food. Concerns about the safety and quality of food have become one of the most prominent issues about food. Media coverage of incidents around food safety and the increased attention to food scares internationally (e.g., bovine spongiform encephalopathy, genetic modification, pesticides, Salmonella, Listeria) have raised public concerns around food safety. As a result of food scares and food safety issues, as well as resulting media stories, there has been a decline in trust in the food supply and production. This decline in trust has led to decreased demands in the foods in question and the purchase of foods from associated companies. For example, within Western Europe, there has been a growing public unease about the health and safety of modern food production. Food-related scares have dominated the news media and have led to the erosion of public trust as well as increasing consumer confusion about food safety and diet issues. In addition, the increase in information from the media regarding what to eat, and where to eat, differs according to the “expert” in question. The results have been a decline in the authority of experts generally. This entry examines the conceptualization and scope of trust in food. The entry begins with a look at reasons for the decline in consumers’ trust in the quality and safety of the food they eat.
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