Is it safe to eat that? Raw oysters, risk assessment and the rhetoric of science

Social Epistemology 22 (2):129 – 143 (2008)
Abstract
Recently, oysters have been identified by the US Food and Drug Administration (USFDA) as a risky food to eat because they may or may not contain the pathogenic bacteria Vibrio parahaemolyticus. The USFDA's attempts to manage the risk manifest themselves in a “Quantitative Risk Assessment”, a report that attempts to quantify and predict the number of oyster eaters that will fall ill from Vibrio. In seeking to produce knowledge and eliminate uncertainty, the USFDA, through the use of a discourse of quantification, does the opposite. Instead, we argue, documents such as risk assessments are best understood as kinds of rhetorical practice. According to this perspective, these documents are epistemologically and ontologically reductive, produce uncertainty, politicize the act of eating, and serve an ironic function.
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DOI 10.1080/02691720802156268
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References found in this work BETA
Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity.Ulrich Beck, Mark Ritter & Jennifer Brown - 1993 - Environmental Values 2 (4):367-368.
World Risk Society.Ulrich Beck - 2012 - In Jan Kyrre Berg Olsen Friis, Stig Andur Pedersen & Vincent F. Hendricks (eds.), A Companion to the Philosophy of Technology. Wiley-Blackwell.
The Taming of Chance.Ian Hacking - 1990 - Cambridge University Press.
A Grammar of Motives.Kenneth Burke - 1969 - Berkeley: University of California Press.

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