In the interest of food safety: a qualitative study investigating communication and trust between food regulators and food industry in the UK, Australia and New Zealand
Meyer, Samantha B
Coveney, John David
Pearce, Alex R
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Background Food regulatory bodies play an important role in public health, and in reducing the costs of food borne illness that are absorbed by both industry and government. Regulation in the food industry involves a relationship between regulators and members of the industry, and it is imperative that these relationships are built on trust. Research has shown in a variety of contexts that businesses find the most success when there are high levels of trust between them and their key stakeholders. An evidence-based understanding of the barriers to communication and trust is imperative if we are to put forward recommendations for facilitating the (re)building of trusting and communicative relationships. Methods We present data from 72 interviews with regulators and industry representatives regarding their trust in and communication with one another. Interviews were conducted in the UK, New Zealand, and Australia in 2013. Results Data identify a variety of factors that shape the dynamic and complex relationships between regulators and industry, as well as barriers to communication and trust between the two parties. Novel in our approach is our emphasis on identifying solutions to these barriers from the voices of industry and regulators. Conclusions We provide recommendations (e.g., development of industry advisory boards) to facilitate the (re)building of trusting and communicative relationships between the two parties.
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