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J Food Prot. 2017 Sep;80(9):1537-1549. doi: 10.4315/0362-028X.JFP-16-345.

A Systematic Review of the Use of Social Media for Food Safety Risk Communication.

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1 Department of Food, Bioprocessing and Nutrition Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695, USA.
2 Department of Agricultural and Human Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, North Carolina 27695, USA.


This article covers the current published literature related to the use of social media in food safety and infectious disease communication. The aim was to analyze literature recommendations and draw conclusions about how best to utilize social media for food safety risk communication going forward. A systematic literature review was conducted, and 24 articles were included for analysis. The inclusion criteria were (i) original peer-reviewed articles and (ii) primary focus on communication through social media about food safety and/or infectious diseases. Studies were coded for themes about social media applications, benefits, limitations, and best practices. Trust and personal beliefs were important drivers of social media use. The wide reach, immediacy, and information gathering capacities of social media were frequently cited benefits. Suggestions for social media best practices were inconsistent among studies, and study designs were highly variable. More evidence-based suggestions are needed to better establish guidelines for social media use in food safety and infectious disease risk communication. The information gleaned from this review can be used to create effective messages for shaping food safety behaviors.


Food safety; Foodborne illness; Infectious disease; Social media

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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