Risk Communication in the Food Field
The Foundation of Food Safety and Security, 1-29-6 Hamamatu-cho, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-0013, Japan
The first BSE case in Japan was found in 2001. The BSE risk in Japan was small and the measures taken by the government successfully prevented the spread of BSE. However, because consumers did not have accurate information, they did not trust the government and refused to consume beef. Based on the lessons learned, the government enacted the Food Safety Basic Act in 2003, and risk communication in the food field was started. In 2003, the first BSE case was found in the U.S. that were supplying nearly one third of the beef consumed in Japan, and the government banned beef import from the U.S. The BSE risk in the U.S. was also small and it was possible to resume imports of beef after the appropriate measures. Despite the government efforts of risk communication, consumers rejected the resumption of imports. In 2011, food was contaminated with radioactive substances discharged from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. Although government eliminated the contaminated food from the market, some consumers rejected all of the agricultural products of the Fukushima region, again a failure of risk communication. Here, the current situation and problems of the risk communication in Japan will be described.
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