All definitions belong to, except when mentioned otherwise.

Cognition: (1) The mental process of knowing, including aspects such as awareness, perception, reasoning, and judgment. (2) That which comes to be known, as through perception, reasoning, or intuition; knowledge.

Conceptualization: process of converting vague mental images into definable concepts. (Wikipedia)

Construct:  an abstract or general idea inferred or derived from specific instances.

Hazard: A biological, chemical or physical agent in food (or condition of food) with the potential to cause and adverse health effect.

High input/intensive
: Farming that strives for maximum production.

Low input/extensive: farming that strives to minimise inputs (e.g. pesticides, artificial fertilisers, etc.)

Moderator: someone who presides over a forum or debate.

Mycotoxins: toxins produced by fungus. Mycotoxins can appear in food and animal feed as a result of fungal infection of the crop, for example in cereals, or the infection of stored products

Operationalization: process of converting concepts into specific observable behaviours that a researcher can measure. (Wikipedia)

Organic farming: is a form of agriculture which avoids or largely excludes the use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, plant growth regulators, and livestock feed additives. (Wikipedia)

Perception: a way of conceiving something; the process of perceiving.

Precision: exactness of any given measure. (Wikipedia)

Preference: the right or chance to choose.

Psychometrics: The branch of psychology that deals with the design, administration, and interpretation of quantitative tests for the measurement of psychological variables such as intelligence, aptitude, and personality traits. Also called psychometry.

Reliability: the likelihood that a given operationalized construct will yield the same results if re-measured. (Wikipedia)

Risk Analysis: The concept of Risk Analysis was introduced as a systematic way to fully assess risks; it comprises three components: risk assessment, risk management and risk communication.

- Risk Assessment: this is a scientifically based process consisting of the following steps: hazard identification, hazard characterization, exposure assessment, and risk characterization.

    * Hazard identification this step deals with the identification of agents (biological, chemical or physical) that are capable of causing an adverse health effect.

    * Hazard characterization this step has to do with the qualitative and/or quantitative evaluation of the nature of the adverse health effects.

For chemical agents, a dose-response assessment should be performed. For biological or physical agents, a dose-response assessment should be performed if the data are obtainable.

    * Exposure assessment this step deals with the qualitative and/or quantitative evaluation of the degree of intake likely to occur.

    * Risk characterization this step integrates the information gathered in the previous 3 steps into an estimation of the adverse effects likely to happen in a certain population, including related uncertainties.

- Risk Management: this is the process of weighing strategy alternatives to accept, minimize or reduce evaluated risks and to select and implement appropriate measures.

- Risk Communication: this is an interactive process of exchange of information and opinions on risk among risk assessors, risk managers and other involved parties such as the industry, consumers and the academic community.


Risk: Risk is the potential harm that may arise from some present process or from some future event. It is often mapped to the probability of some event which is seen as undesirable. Usually the probability of that event and some assessment of its expected harm must be combined into a believable scenario (an outcome) which combines the set of risk, regret and reward probabilities into an expected value for that outcome. (Wikipedia)   Health effect caused by a hazard in a food and the likelihood of its occurrence. Risk= Severity*Probability

Uncertainty versus Variability. Uncertainty occurs because of a lack of knowledge. Variability refers to true heterogeneity or diversity. Uncertainty can often be reduced by collecting more and better data, whereas variability is an inherent property of the population being evaluated. Variability can be better characterized with more data but it cannot be reduced or eliminated. For example, a risk assessor may be very certain that different people drink different amounts of water but may be uncertain about how much variability there is in water intakes within the population. Another example, among a population that drinks water from the same source and with the same contaminant concentration, the risks from consuming the water may vary. This may be due to differences in exposure (i.e., different people drinking different amounts of water and having different body weights) as well as differences in response (e.g., genetic differences in resistance to a chemical dose). Those inherent differences are referred to as variability.

Uncertainty: the state of being unsure of something. Uncertainty can often be reduced by collecting more and better data. (See uncertainty versus variability).

Unstructured: lacking definite structure or organization

Validity: the extent to which a measure provides data that captures the meaning of the operationalized construct as defined in the study. It asks, “Are we measuring what we intended to measure?”. (Wikipedia)

Variability: Variability refers to true heterogeneity or diversity. Variability is an inherent property of the population being evaluated, it can be better characterized with more data but it cannot be reduced or eliminated. (See uncertainty versus variability)
Inter-individual variability: Differences among individuals in a population
Intra-individual variability: Differences for one individual over time

Variables: They are representations of constructs. They cannot be synonymous with a construct because any single construct has many different variables. Therefore, variables are partial representations of constructs, and we work with them because they are measurable. (Judd et al., 1986)