Public Inclusion in Risk Reviews Urged

LONDON, May 13 (UPI) — British researchers say they’ve found inclusion of activists and the general public in some food risk reviews can expand the focus of the investigations.

The multicenter study group said their findings are important to government agencies and policymakers interested in including more public input and enhancing public trust of expert recommendations on food safety.

The researchers said they considered three case studies related to children’s risk from pesticide residues in apples, infection from a bacterial contaminant in chickens and a hypothetical contamination of animal feed with a toxin.

Nine researchers from universities, government agencies and research institutes collaborated in the study and concluded technical complexities in risk reviews do not necessarily pose barriers to broader public participation. Also, they said, including multiple non-technical representatives tends to broaden the focus of such reviews.

The investigators, however, cautioned their results may not apply in all cases, saying it is difficult to establish principles based on only three case studies.

The study that was led by Gary Barker of the U.K. Institute for Food Research included Professors Simon French of the University of Manchester, John Maule of Leeds University and Richard Shepherd of the University of Surrey; Andy Hart of Britain’s Food and Environment Research Agency; Angela Cassidy of the University of East Anglia; and contributors Clare Bayley, Pardeep Malakar and Martina Petkov appears in the journal Risk Analysis.

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