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


With the nightmare memory of the 2019-2020 coronavirus plague still fresh in health communicators' minds, it may be time for some thoughtful reflection. Are there any useful lessons nutrition and food science communicators can take away from the early experiences of the public health community in talking about risk? In the present article, the authors review the long-confirmed rules of risk communication under crisis conditions; they analyze the practices followed and messages delivered in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic, and they analyze the almost astonishing effect of these communications on the public's behavioral attitudes. Offered as well are some possible lessons for nutrition communicators going forward: for example, food communicators might gain increased understanding of the need for empathy in talking to their audiences and of the importance of crafting messages that cut through the clutter of limited or inaccurate information. They propose some enhanced guidelines to improve crisis communication lines-experts to consumers to experts-going forward.