October 17, 2020

Scientists Urge Food Safety Professionals to Use Social Media

A new paper published in the journal Trends in Food Science and Technology states that food safety professionals should use social media as a communication tool. The research paper was produced by FoodRisC, a food benefit and risk communication organization in Europe, and is titled “The Use of Social Media in Food Risk and Benefit Communication.”

About two billion people worldwide use the internet. Monitoring social media can help professionals understand consumer perception of food issues. Social media can also give public health officials real time insight into outbreaks as they develop. Unfortunately, miscommunication can also occur through this outlet.

The paper states that “food risk communicators need to be present and pro-active on social media to increase visibility for the general public and key opinion formers, to establish themselves as credible interactive sources of information, and to enable timely communication with the public.”

Crisis situations, such as food poisoning outbreaks and major recalls, are particularly ripe for misinformation. While active involvement with social media takes time and effort, it can be a productive tool to educate the public and communicate about real food risks. Nothing replaces direct communication with the public.

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