Keywords: risk communication, risk perception, risk management, policy relaxation, BSE crisis, TSE roadmap, public trust, European Commission, bovine spongiform encephalopathy, mad cow disease, EC Regulations
Risk communication: the European Commission TSE roadmap model for policy relaxation
The bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) crisis forced the European Commission to impose strict regulations, the most significant and overarching of which was Regulation (EC) No 999/2001. These regulations were responsible for the abatement of the BSE epidemic in Europe in the years that followed. The 'transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) roadmap' was published by the European Commission several years later, on 15th July 2005. This roadmap proposed the relaxation of BSE measures in the short, medium and long term. It was seen as a proactive way to prepare for the implementation of new regulations and in terms of risk communication, was a very interesting approach. This paper presents the 'roadmap model' as an effective tool for risk communication. It proposes several recommendations to help decision–makers in the difficult task of risk communication and establishes some conditions for generating public trust.