Global Food Insecurity

pp 173-183


Risk Communication at the Hungarian Guar-Gum Scandal

  • Gyula KaszaAffiliated withHungarian Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development
  • , Judith SzigetiAffiliated withCorvinus University of Budapest Email author 
  • , Szilárd PodruzsikAffiliated withCorvinus University of Budapest
  • , Krisztián KeszthelyiAffiliated withCorvinus University of Budapest

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Millions of people have no access to healthy and safe food due to food insecurity that may occur at household, regional or national levels. National policies, insufficient agricultural development and low levels of education may lead to food insecurity. Furthermore, food quality and food safety is a major benchmark of economic development. Food borne risks to human health can arise from biological, chemical or physical hazards. Risk analysis is a key discipline for reducing food borne diseases and food insecurity, and for strengthening food safety systems. Food safety risk analysis is used for assessing and managing risks associated with food hazards. The risk analysis process contains three elements: risk assessment, risk management and risk communication. This paper focuses on risk communication and summarizes the results and findings of the case study for official food safety communicators. The preliminary descriptive study intends to present the reaction of Hungarian consumers to a crisis that affected a wide range of society. In 2007, the guar gum scandal caused panic among consumers when dioxin-contaminated guar gum entered the food chain. This food contamination scare followed previous occasions such as production of intoxicated paprika powder, re-labelling of overdue meat packages and the Bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) crisis in Hungary. To analyze risk perception and consumer behavior, a primary research was conducted with a sample size of 1,577.


Consumer behaviour Food quality Guar gum Risk communication Risk perception