Participatory risk assessment: a new approach for safer food in vulnerable African communities

Women play the major role in food supply in developing countries, but too often their ability to feed their families properly is compromised; the result is high levels of food-borne disease and consequent limited access to higher-value markets. We argue that risk-based approaches - current best practice for managing food safety in developed countries - require adaptation to the difficult context of informal markets. We suggest participatory research and gender analysis as boundary-spanning mechanisms, bringing communities and food-safety implementers together to analyse food-safety problems and develop workable solutions. Examples show how these methodologies can contribute to operationalising risk-based approaches in urban settings and to the development of a new approach to assessing and managing food safety in poor countries, which we call 'participatory risk analysis'. pp 611-618