Document Detail

Science communication and the Swedish acrylamide "alarm".
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  14530144     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
On April 24, 2002 the Swedish National Food Administration along with a group of researchers at the University of Stockholm raised an alarm regarding potential health risks associated with eating fried and baked foods such as potatoes and bread. Scientists had found high levels of acrylamide (up to 500 times more acrylamide than that allowed in drinking water by the World Health Organisation), a substance widely believed to cause cancer, in cooked high starch foods. The outcomes of this "alarm" were immediate. In Sweden sales of chips fell by 30-50 percent over a 3-day period following the press conference, and share prices among several fried food manufacturers fell substantially, as stock analysts were fearful that consumption of fried foods would decrease significantly. Four days after the press conference, however, consumers began eating fried food as normal and a number of researchers and journalists in Sweden and elsewhere took the view that the alarm had been both exaggerated and ill placed. In this study, I evaluate the science communication process associated with the scare, based on a content analysis of a select group of Swedish broad sheets from just previous to the April 2002 press conference to the present time (December 2002). In addition, the study is based on interviews with the various Swedish regulators involved in the process itself (in particular at the Swedish National Food Administration) as well as with the scientists responsible for the study at Stockholm University and relevant journalists and politicians.
Ragnar E Lofstedt
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of health communication     Volume:  8     ISSN:  1081-0730     ISO Abbreviation:  J Health Commun     Publication Date:    2003 Sep-Oct
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2003-10-07     Completed Date:  2004-01-06     Revised Date:  2005-11-17    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9604100     Medline TA:  J Health Commun     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  407-32     Citation Subset:  T    
School of Social Science & Public Policy King's College London, London, United Kingdom.
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MeSH Terms
Acrylamides / blood,  classification,  toxicity*
Carcinogens / classification
Cookery / methods*
Dietary Carbohydrates
Food Analysis / standards*
Mass Media*
Public Health Administration / standards*
Risk Assessment / standards*
Solanum tuberosum
Reg. No./Substance:
0/Acrylamides; 0/Carcinogens; 0/Dietary Carbohydrates
Comment In:
J Health Commun. 2003 Sep-Oct;8(5):433-4   [PMID:  14530145 ]
J Health Commun. 2003 Sep-Oct;8(5):435-41   [PMID:  14530146 ]

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