Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to explore the relationship between consumer risk perceptions and behaviour when information about food risks is framed in a positive or negative way. Design/methodology/approach – Using food consumption scenarios in an on-line experiment consumers perceived risk and risk tolerance is examined when messages are framed in three different news-type stories. Findings – As anticipated, message framing emerged as a significant predictor of perceived risk and the higher an individual’s self-reported tolerance of risk, the more risk they were willing to accept. Research limitations/implications – The use of hypothetical scenarios and relatively small convenience sample size could be improved by further research. Practical implications – Through simple adjustments to wording, food crises of confidence may be reduced and the implications for communication management strategies are discussed. Originality/value – Originality stems from being one of the first papers to use Framing and Prospect Theory in a food crisis situation, in which both risk and framing are operationalised in different ways and the risk was not specified by the researcher. Also, unlike previous research identical numerical facts were framed in a positive, negative or neutral light by changing the wording.