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  1. Rowe, Sylvia MA
  2. Alexander, Nick BA


Food, health, and other science communicators have, for years, been concerned about the public's trust in science-especially, with the fierce opposition to some believed-to-be-settled scientific consensus regarding vaccine safety, global climate change, the safety of food biotechnology, and assorted nutrition issues. Experts have struggled to understand why significant segments of the public have continued to resist consensus conclusions. The present article investigates the impact on science communications of a broader, decades-long, societal decline in public trust in most social institutions. The authors investigate the role of trust in the context of a culture-wide loss of confidence in the society's traditional gatekeepers and authority figures. They examine possible causes for the erosion of trust and explore a new heuristic approach, offering possible guidance for food and health communicators in taking account of the ever-more-challenging communication landscape.