The influence of external organizations and pressures on business risk management practices has hitherto been examined through the influence of state regulatory regimes on businesses. This article concentrates on key socio-legal concerns about the influence of the law in social and economic life. We know that the sources of regulation and risk management are diversifying beyond the state. What we do not have is much empirically informed research about the range of sources influencing the business world and in particular the weighting of influence exercised by them. In this paper we explore the understandings regulatory actors have of the different external pressures on business risk management through an empirical study of the understandings of those in the food retail sector about the management of food safety and food hygiene risks. A broader objective is to throw some further light onto the debate about regulation within and beyond the state.