Risk Cultures, Beef Traceability, and Food Safety in the United States and Zambia

TR Number



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title


Virginia Tech


Understanding ways of improving the safety of food is an important area of research. In this project, I explore the history of the food safety systems in the United States and the Republic of Zambia. Focusing on the traceability of meat (as a form of risk management), I reveal the factors shaping each of these systems, with an eye towards their similarities and differences. I argue that food safety systems come to look different due to how these regulatory systems differently define risk, some of which traceability has brought to light. In both countries, what influences risk cultures is trust in institutions, political leaders and in science and technology. For the Zambian public, trust is in local political leaders, in individuals and in brands. For the US public, trust is in information and knowledge of producers, which is found on labels. While the Zambian public generally trusts institutions, the US public, due to its history of institutional failures, does not.



Traceability, risk culture, food safety, information infrastructure