Communication is essential to effective food protection policies: if healthy habits help reduce food-related diseases and disorders, communication can enable active and responsible consumers; but it might also lead to misinformation by promoting food “myths”. In fact, news on “poisonous” or “miraculous” foods fill up the daily agenda of the mass and new media, through which they spread widely and are more likely to affect people’s perceptions of edibility and behaviours. While considerable efforts have improved food risk communication, no extensive research has addressed this increasing phenomenon: it is not sufficient to debunk fake news, hoaxes and conspiracy theories, but it is necessary to understand the textual and discursive strategies underlying them, as well as the effects of meaning deriving from such strategies.
The Marie Skłodowska-Curie project “Communication for Food Protection” (COMFECTION), directed by Simona Stano in collaboration with the University of Turin (UNITO) and New York University (NYU), is intended precisely to fill this gap by addressing some of the most urgent issues concerning food protection and its communication. Its main objectives are: (i) to identify the communicative and cultural mechanisms through which food myths originate and spread widely through contemporary digital media; (ii) to understand which communicative tools and channels can be used to oppose such phenomena, so as to facilitate a correct interpretation and use of food communication by media users; (iii) to provide stakeholders and scientists with effective communicative tools and guidelines to foster food protection.
More information can be found here.