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TDK conference 2010

The food safety risk cognition of Hungarian consumers in connection with the most significant incidents in 2009
Solymár Dániel - year 3
Corvinus University of Budapest, Faculty of Food Science, Department of Food Economics; SzIU, Faculty of Veterinary Science, Department of State Veterinary Medicine and Agricultural Economics
Supervisors: Gyula Kasza DVM, László Visnyei DVM


The purpose of my essay is to measure the consumers’ judgment of the three most significant food safety scandals in the last few years, the consciousness of consumers, and the efficiency of the official communication. My choice of theme was motivated by the scientific literature according to which the events that happened in food chain can cause much more damage in the macro economy by the product recalling and health risk due to the shake of the consumer’s confidence, than the events themselves.

However, these effects can be decreased or sometimes can be avoided by developing mutual confidence between the consumers and the food control authority and the food industries. But behind this confidence should stay a reliable, objective, easily available and explainable risk communication.

I made an anonym survey in the interest of making speak a wide range of consumers and the complexity of the examination, using a questionnaire which contains thirty closed and five opened questions. We could see the interest of the questioned people from the fact, that I was able to collect 480 filled in questionnaire within a few months in the second half of the year 2009. Besides, I haven’t met any refusal or impartiality. The data has been analyzed by using the SPSS statistical program.

From the result of the survey it can be laid down as a fact, that the judgment of the Hungarian food chain control authority is positive. The consumers appreciate the usefulness of the last years’ significant changing, but they expect further effort in the field of the effective risk communication. The fact that the structure of the control authorities had changed remarkably in the past years hasn’t been realized yet in the mind of the consumers. So despite the claim and moral motivation of informing the authority which occur in the mind of consumers, they don’t know where to apply.

From the consumers' attitudes connected to the scandals it turned out that 80% of the repliers find the main cause of the food safety risks in the bad quality of the export goods. However, the affection and the claim of the Hungarian products outlined unambiguously. According to the repliers, other main risk factors are the admixtures, the preservatives, and the possible human negligence. Beside the quick development of sometimes unjustified panic situation we can find proof for the effect of the consumers’ short-distance memory. E.g.: only the 0.42% of the respondents could remember the incriminate producer of the pig meat which was contaminated by dioxin. And more than 40% of the respondents couldn’t remember even the scandal at all.

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