John T. Lang, Karen M. O’Neill, and William K. Hallman
Rutgers University

Experts typically presume to speak with authority about complex concerns, such as agricultural biotechnology. Research indi- cates, however, that the effectiveness of risk communication depends on perceptions about the trustworthiness of the institu- tions and experts providing information. This exploratory study investigates how experts from a range of food-associated pro- fessions and institutions perceive their own roles in communi- cating about biotechnology. Most of the respondents rated scientists and other experts as most likely to tell the truth about biotechnology, but many felt that members of the public were most influenced by the mass media and by critics of biotechnol- ogy.

Key words: Expert opinion, food biotechnology, genetically modified food, public understanding of science, risk communication, trust.