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Can a Participatory Approach Contribute to Food Chain Risk Analysis?


Address correspondence to G. C. Barker, Institute of Food Research, Norwich Research Park, Colney, Norwich NR4 7UA; tel: +44 1603 255000; fax: +44 1603 507723;


We consider food chain risks and specifically address stakeholder participation in the risk analysis process. We combine social and natural science perspectives to explore the participation process in relation to food risks and, in particular, to consider how some specific participation processes might be scientifically evaluated and how stakeholder participation in general might be incorporated into food risk decision making. We have built considerations based on three large integrative case studies that examine aspects of participatory processes. Here we use the case studies collectively to illustrate observations and beliefs concerning the nature of the interaction of stakeholders with established quantitative risk methodologies. This account is not supported by any large volume of analysis. The views in the report are expressed in relation to an accepted risk analysis framework and also with respect to probabilistic modeling of risks and are illustrated where possible with anecdotal reports of actual case study events.