Introduction and scope

The question I will be addressing in this paper is that of the tension and balance between the protection of public health by providing information to the public concerning a potential health risk, and the protection of the reputation of companies and products. In my view, this question concerns the regulation of access to and disclosure of information, but also goes beyond this matter to what I am calling here “risk communication”, using this term in a personal manner. When using the term “risk communication” I am referring to the increasing activities of Authorities in communicating the existence of a risk to public health to other Authorities and to the general public, and how this communication can have an enormous impact on the market, spread very quickly and lead to situations close to panic.

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