Public Trust in Agriculture and Food: Literature and Case Studies

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  • Trust is an important element of effective relationships, including business relationships. In
    agriculture and food, public trust has sometimes been affected by food safety problems and by
    hesitation or misunderstanding about production practices, including the use of new
    technologies. In this report the literature on conceptual models characterizing trust and empirical
    approaches to measuring, monitoring, building and rebuilding trust are described. Throughout
    the literature reviewed, key elements of trust in many different contexts are found to be related to
    beliefs in ‘competence’ and ‘commitment’ of the trusted agent and perceptions of ‘transparency’
    in the activities of the trusted agent. The approaches described in this review have mostly (but
    not exclusively) been applied in the context of decisions related to food. Case studies of
    particular food issues which have been affected by elements of distrust are described in order to
    understand best practice related to rebuilding trust.

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    Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International