School of Communication and the Arts


Doctor of Philosophy in Communication (PhD)


Carol E. Hepburn


food safety, food safety communication, strategic communication, cascading communication, two-step flow theory, applied communication


Communication | Food Science


One of the most important purposes of communication is to warn people of environmental dangers. More specifically, communication can identify risks associated with food safety. The government and food safety experts are to provide information on these dangers. This study aims to determine whether these entities use consistent language to communicate these dangers. The reader will first take a journey through relevant communication concepts and an introduction to food safety. This qualitative applied communication analysis uses MAXQDA software to ascertain similarities in word choice between the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) food code and state legislative material. This comparison uses terms deemed valuable to food safety in National Restaurant Association (NRA) ServSafe Manager and Food Safety Culture: Creating a Behavior-Based Food Safety Management System. The results identify similarities and differences between these documents through the research questions associated with the study and the principles of the two-step flow theory and cybernetics. After the results, the thematic analysis provides a representation of matters identified through the new lens that the results provide. This dissertation concludes by introducing the cascading communication model and its benefits regarding food safety communication.