Academic article

Social norms and risk communication

Scholderer, Joachim; Olsen, Nina Veflen

Publication details

Journal: Trends in Food Science & Technology, vol. 84, p. 62–63, 2018

Publisher: Elsevier

International Standard Numbers:
Printed: 0924-2244
Electronic: 1879-3053

Open Access: green


Social norms are beliefs about what people in general would consider appropriate behaviour in a particular social context. In this mini-review, we summarise research on the role of social norms in the context of safe food handling practices. We review existing evidence regarding the influence of social norms on food handling practices related to cross-contamination and hygiene, time-temperature control and adequate cooking. Furthermore, we discuss the consequences of biases in social norms and how they might be mitigated by norm-oriented risk communication messages. Finally, we discuss potential conflicts between norms that are instrumental for safe food handling practices and norms that are instrumental for maintaining social relationships, and suggest directions for future research