Managing Food Chain Risks (RELU-RISK)
A key concept within risk management is uncertainty. This needs to be handled both at a statistical level, within technical risk assessment and exposure models, but also understood within the two-way interaction with various stakeholders, as part of the risk management process.
What has been lacking in this research area in the past is the integration between the best available modelling of technical risk assessments with social science inputs on participation processes, consumer behaviour and effective risk communication. This project is based on three case studies representing different types of risk: chemical contamination, microbial contamination and a crisis scenario. At a technical level procedures will be used to model not only the risk to members of the public but also to develop measures of the uncertainties inherent in those estimates of risk, taking into account interactions throughout the food chain and also the likely impact of risk information on consumer behaviour.
The project will investigate the best ways of communicating risks both to members of the public and to risk managers. These stakeholder groups will be involved throughout the research both to define the interfaces needed and to evaluate the outcomes from the project.
Institute of Food Research, Norwich
Manchester University Business School
Food and Environment Research Agency, York
Leeds University Business School
I previously worked at the Institute of Food Research, Health Education Authority and University of Oxford. My expertise is in the area of public health and behavioural nutrition research, gained on a variety of projects. My research is wide ranging both in terms of topics covered (e.g. food choice, policy development, food safety) and methodologies used (e.g. qualitative, quantitative, stakeholder consultation). I have also been involved in the evaluation of health promotion programmes and developing tools for use in nutrition education.
Since my arrival in 2000, I have played an instrumental role in the success of the University of Surrey’s Food, Consumer Behaviour and Health Research Centre, securing over £5.4M of research funding, of which over £3.3M as PI. With a start-up investment of £250K in 2000, the centre has brought over £7.1M into the University.
To date I have published over 125 refereed papers, numerous non-refereed publications including 20 book chapters and have edited two booksand edited two books ("The Psychology of Food Choice" (2006) and "Food for the Ag(e)ing Population" (1st edition 2009; 2nd edition 2016).
I am one of the founding members, member of the Board of Directors (2001-2006) and was secretary (2004-2006) of the International Society of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity. The society was set up to combine interests in diet and physical activity; and to stimulate, promote and advocate innovative research and policy in the area. The society now plays an important role in fostering excellence in research in this field through its annual meetings and journal called the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity.
Richard Shepherd is an Emeritus Professor of Psychology, having retired in August 2011. He obtained degrees in Natural Sciences from Cambridge and in Psychology from Cardiff and Southampton. He was a Research Fellow at the University of Surrey and then worked at the Institute of Food Research from 1982 to 1998, initially in Norwich and then in Reading, before joining the University of Surrey as a Reader.
He has carried out research on a range of issues related to the factors influencing food choice. In particular this has involved the development and application of social cognition models to food choice issues and the exploration of the factors influencing dietary change. He has also conducted research on the perception of risk and risk communication particularly in relation to food issues. He has published widely in all of these areas of research, including editing two books.
He has directed research funded by BBSRC, ESRC, MAFF, FSA, Wellcome Trust and industry, in addition to several collaborative European projects funded by the EU. He is a Chartered Psychologist and a Fellow of the British Psychological Society. In the past Richard has been a member of the UK Food Standards Agency Social Science Research Committee, Food Standards Australia New Zealand (FSANZ) Social Science Expert Advisory Group and the ESRC Grant Assessment Panel.
RELU-RISK Policy Note (ReluriskPolicy note pdf.pdf)
Shepherd, R., Barker, G., French, S., Hart, A., Maule, J. & Cassidy, A. (2006). Managing food chain risks: integrating technical and stakeholder perspectives on uncertainty. Journal of Agricultural Economics, 57, 311-327.
Shepherd, R. (2008). Involving the public and stakeholders in the evaluation of food risks. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 19, 234-239.
Barker, G. C., Bayley, C., Cassidy, A., French, S., Hart, A., Malakar, P. K., Maule, J., Petkov, M., & Shepherd, R. (2010). Can a participatory approach contribute to food chain risk analysis? Risk Analysis, 30, 766-781.
Barker, G. & Shepherd, R. (2006). Food safety management and its impact on the rural economy. Invited presentation at RELU Workshop 'Sustainable Food Chains and Rural and Regional Development', Birmingham, 11 May 2006.
Petkov, M. & Shepherd, R. (2006). How will personality affect the risks you take? – A closer look into food risks and consumer behaviour. Paper presented at RiskCom 'New Perspectives on Risk Communication: Uncertainty in a Complex Society', Gothenburg, 31 August - 2 September 2006.
Shepherd, R. (2006). Consumer risk perception and risk communication. Invited paper at Croatian Food Agency Seminar on Risk Assessment, Zagreb, 5 October 2006.
Research groups and centres
Our research is supported by research groups and centres of excellence.