Comparative examination of trust during times of a food scandal in Europe and Australia

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Coveney, John David
Mamerow, Loreen
Taylor, Anne
Henderson, Julie Anne
Meyer, Samantha B
Ward, Paul Russell
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Scientific & Academic Publishing
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This study compared public confidence in truth-telling by food chain actors in selected EU countries where there have been a number of food safety problems, with consumers in Australia where there have been fewer food crises. A computer-assisted telephone interviewing survey was used to address aspects of truth-telling at times of a food scandal with a random sample of 1109 participants across all Australian states (response rate 41.2%). Results were compared with a survey in six EU countries which had asked similar questions. Australians' trust in truth-telling by food chain actors was low, with 14.2% of the sample expecting various institutions and individuals to tell the whole truth during times of a food scandal. When compared with EU countries, Australia occupied a middle position in trust distribution, and was more similar to Great Britain in giving farmers the most trust in truth-telling. This study has demonstrated that in Australia, as in many EU countries, trust in truth-telling at a time of food scandal is low. The credibility of the food system is highly vulnerable under times of food crisis and once trust in broken, it is difficult to restore.
Public health, Food safety, Trust, Australia, European Union
Coveney, J.D., Mamerow, L., Taylor, A.W., Henderson, J.A., Meyer, S., & Ward, P.R., 2012. Comparative examination of trust during times of a food scandal in Europe and Australia. Food and Public Health, 2(6), 202-212.