Is it just me, or does it seem like there’s a new “alarm” being sounded about fear-inspiring documentaries about what’s in our food, seem to be the norm these days, and they are shared widely in social media with the click of a button.
As consumers, we are trying to make sense of the barrage of information coming at us every day on a growing number of food topics, and in a digital world, it is increasingly challenging to separate fact from fiction. Many of these articles that “sound the alarm” about foods or ingredients to worry about are not supported by the body of science on the subject and do not constitute bona fide concerns that people need to know in order to stay safe and healthy.
For those of us engaged in social media, when we hit that “share” button, it is important to remember those on the other end of our tweet, Facebook post, or blog post. For example, a day or two after sharing a headline that a food ingredient or component is safe, to share one that says it could pose a potential health risk is confusing for the consumer if shared in the absence of additional context. In addition, if the Internet continues to be inundated with alarmist claims, there will be no one listening when there is a real, dire food safety or public health alert that needs to be communicated to the public.
As consumers, we should seek to be educated and informed in order to make informed food choices, and the media plays an important role in raising awareness. But as communicators, it is also important to put new information about food and health into the proper context and provide the science on the issue in order to not unnecessarily frighten consumers.
This month, let’s start a new trend and tweet the good things about our food (there are a lot)! Tweet us @FoodInsight using hashtag #goodfood.