From Trust to Trustworthiness: Why Information is not Enough in the Food Sector
- 1.1k Downloads
The many well-publicized food scandals in recent years have resulted in a general state of vulnerable trust. As a result, building consumer trust has become an important goal in agri-food policy. In their efforts to protect trust in the agricultural and food sector, governments and industries have tended to consider the problem of trust as merely a matter of informing consumers on risks. In this article, we argue that the food sector better addresses the problem of trust from the perspective of the trustworthiness of the food sector itself. This broad idea for changing the focus of trust is the assumption that if you want to be trusted, you should be trustworthy. To provide a clear understanding of what being trustworthy means within the food sector, we elaborate on both the concept of trust and of responsibility. In this way we show that policy focused on enhancing transparency and providing information to consumers is crucial, but not sufficient for dealing with the problem of consumer trust in the current agri-food context.
Keywordsfood food policy responsibility trust trustworthiness
This article has been based upon research funded by the Netherlands Ministry of Agriculture, Nature, and Food Quality in the context of articulating research issues. Parts of this paper have been discussed during the International Expert Meeting on “Trust and Responsibility in the Agrofood Sector” in Utrecht, 27 September 2002 and the Fourth Congress of the European Society for Agricultural and Food Ethics (EurSafe), Toulouse 20–22 March 2003. We want to thank all participants for their contributions. Special thanks are due to Robert Heeger and Benjamin Radelet for their helpful criticisms of earlier drafts.
- Brom F. W. A. (2002). Weten en Eten, een verkenning vanuit de ethiek van kennisvragen opgeroepen door nieuwe ontwikkelingen op voedselgebied (On knowledge and food, an ethical exploration of questions raised by recent developments in the food sector). Centrum voor Bio-ethiek en Gezondheidsrecht, UtrechtGoogle Scholar
- Burg, W. van der and S. Taekema, (eds.). (2004), The Importance of Ideals: Debating their Relevance in Law, Morality, and Politics Bruxelles [etc.]: P.I.E.-Peter LangGoogle Scholar
- FAO. (2003), Expert Consultation on Food Safety: Science and Ethics, Rome, 3–5 September 2002, Rome: FAOGoogle Scholar
- FAO/WHO. (1998), Report of Joint FAO/WHO Expert Consultation on Application of Risk Communication to Food Standards and Safety Matters, Rome, 2–6 February 1998, Geneva: WHOGoogle Scholar
- FSA (2001) Strategic Plan 2001–2006, Putting consumers first. FSA, LondonGoogle Scholar
- Gaskell, G., N. Allum, and S. Stares. (2003), Europeans and Biotechnology in 2002; Eurobarometer 58.0, 2nd edn – March 21st 2003. A report to the EC Directorate General for Research from the project “Life Sciences in European Society” QLG7-CT-1999-00286Google Scholar
- Hardin R. (2002). Trust and Trustworthiness. Russell Sage Foundation, New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Hardin R. (1993) The street-level epistemology of trust. Politics and Society 21:505–529Google Scholar
- Hollis M. (1998). Trust Within Reason. Cambridge UP, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
- Jasanoff, S. (2001), “Citizens at Risk: Reflections on the US and EU,” in M. Pasquali (ed.), EurSafe 2001. Food Safety, Food Quality, Food Ethics Preprints, pp.␣43–49Google Scholar
- Jonas, H. (1984), Das Prinzip Verantwortung—Versuch einer Ethik für die technologische Zivilisation, Frankfurt am Main: SuhrkampGoogle Scholar
- Lagerspetz O. (1998). Trust: The Tacit Demand. Kluwer Academic Publishers, DordrechtGoogle Scholar
- Løgstrup, K. E. (1959), Die ethische Forderung Tübingen Google Scholar
- Pierick, E. ten, V. Beekman, C. N. van der Weele, M. J. G. Meeusen, and R. P. M. de Graaff. (2004), A Framework for Analysing Corporate Social Performance; Beyond the Wood Model, Rapport 5.04.03, Den Haag: Agricultural Economics Research Institute (LEI)Google Scholar
- Poppe, C. and U. Kjaernes, Trust in Food in Europe: A Comparative Study, Professional Report No. 5 (SIFO, Oslo, 2003)Google Scholar
- Romano, D. (2005), “Food Risk Communication and Consumers’ Trust in the Food Supply Chain,” TRUST QLK1-CT-2002-02343, 2nd Progress Report – R2, Florence http://www.trust.unifi.it/Y2_TRUST_Report_R8.pdf.
- Sztompka P. (1999). Trust: A Sociological Theory. Cambridge UP, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
- Thoreau H. D. (1983) Walden and Civil Disobedience. Penguin classics, New York etcGoogle Scholar