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Create your message

Translating science accurately into relatively simple language that non expert risk managers, stakeholders and wider audiences can understand is crucial. A risk can be misunderstood or misinterpreted if it cannot be explained in simple terms.

Science needs to be made relevant to the audience in order to be useful and usable; this can often be achieved by providing the necessary context about why work has been undertaken. Risk assessments and related communications need to be published as soon as possible after they have been concluded so that they can then inform decision making and possible actions in an open way. If a risk assessment is communicated on an issue of significance, then the longer the gap between communication on risk assessment and risk management, the higher the possibility of inappropriately elevate concern or leaving a confusing information vacuum. Risk communicators need to understand this process and recognise possible time gaps. This is particularly true if there is a long time gap between the risk assessment process and risk management actions, which highlights the need for co-operation and co-ordination between the two parties.

 

 Following elements are discussed:

The role of prior knowledge and associations can influence how risks and benefits are perceived. This section discusses how this facilitates or prevents the spread of risk associations from one food product to another.

It is not always possible to be clear about a risk or benefit and aspects associated with it. This section deals with informing consumers in times of uncertainty.

Situations in which both risk and benefit are present can be difficult to communicate. Some tips are given for message development.

"We need to think carefully about what we can expect from specific risk messages and from broader risk communication efforts" (FDA)