Mind, society, and behavior: Can banking inform food safety?

According to the World Bank, every policy relies on explicit or implicit assumptions about how people make choices. Those assumptions typically rest on an idealized model of how people think, rather than an understanding of how everyday thinking actually works.

o.brother.dumbThis year’s World Development Report argues that a more realistic account of decision-making and behavior will make development policy more effective.

 The Report emphasizes what it calls ‘the three marks of everyday thinking.’ In everyday thinking, people use intuition much more than careful analysis. They employ concepts and tools that prior experience in their cultural world has made familiar. And social emotions and social norms motivate much of what they do. These insights together explain the extraordinary persistence of some social practices, and rapid change in others.

The report shows that small changes in context have large effects on behavior. As a result, discovering which interventions are most effective, and with which contexts and populations, inherently requires an experimental approach. Rigor is needed for testing the processes for delivering interventions, not just the products that are delivered.

Full report available at: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/20597

These experts can’t write: how fresh produce growers make decisions about food safety?

If people who write in ALL CAPS are compensating by yelling, people who stress points by writing in italics or excessive use of quotations are compensating for boredom. To paraphrase Strunk and White, let the reader decide what is truly exclamatory and what needs to be emphasized; words, not formatting, can do this.

When people are talking, it’s called air quotes; Jon Stewart famously called them dick fingers in 2008 (video here if you’re in Canada or the U.S.). I call it bad writing.

I also have issues with people who write, “Clearly …” and “we …”

Clear to whom? Who’s we?

Strunk and White agree.

If the reader can get past the writing, a new paper in Food Control supposedly presents a new model for how fresh produce growers make decisions about food safety. I reduce the paper to: don’t care how it’s done, don’t make people barf if you provide food, and talk with growers since they’re growing the food.

I can’t figure out how the “new model” (below) is going to make fewer people barf; guess I’m not into models.

And it’s Powell, not Powel.

Abstract below:

An expert guide to understanding grower decisions related to fresh fruit and vegetable contamination prevention and control
Food Control
Jason Parker, Robyn S. Wilson, Jeffrey LeJeune, Louie Rivers III, Douglas Doohan
This research intends to refocus the on-farm fresh produce food safety paradigm away from an emphasis on knowledge deficit models and ready-made or tightly-coupled, reductionist solutions toward a loosely-coupled systems approach. The dynamic environment of produce farming and multi-dimensional objectives of produce growers create manifold pathways to address farm specific food safety concerns. We propose a systems approach to facilitate increased decision making of growers using farm-specific criteria to improve their efforts. Currently, social and psychological dimensions of fresh produce food safety are overlooked in program development with preference given to bio-physical knowledge and technological solutions. In this paper, we describe a comprehensive model that was developed through a formal expert elicitation and literature review for the purpose of enhancing education and policy development and improving the microbiological safety of fresh and fresh cut produce. This model illuminates the intrinsic interrelationships among farm scale, marketing practices, and the need for appropriate food safety interventions. We further discuss how this loosely-coupled systems perspective can both aid our understanding of grower-decision-making and provide a basis for developing equitable solutions to on-farm food safety issues as part of a social-psychological approach to addressing these issues.
? US farm scale diversity should be part of food safety policy recommendations. ? Experts need to be aware of their biases of produce grower decision-making. ? A grower-centered approach will enhance new policy, standards, and metrics. ? Farmer input is needed to adapt practices to farms of all scales. ? Avoid one-size-fits-all practices developed for large-scale produce production.