COVID-19 drastically altered the way consumers shopped for food as they had to adhere to recommendations for social distancing. However, the public has been divided across political parties in their assessment of the severity of COVID-19 and must filter through misinformation related to the pandemic to make informed choices for personal safety. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to explore the influences on Oklahoma consumers’ risk information-seeking behaviors about COVID-19 within the context of risk perceptions while shopping for food. The Risk Information Seek and Processing (RISP) model and cultural cognition provided the framework for this study. An online instrument was distributed to Oklahoma consumers to collect quantitative data (n = 410). Respondents reported they were only slightly concerned while making food purchases and possessed moderately high knowledge about COVID-19. They also reported needing moderately high knowledge to make judgments about the issue. Additionally, the respondents engaged more often in systematic processing of COVID-19 information compared to heuristic processing, but neither agreed nor disagreed that they engaged in active information-seeking behaviors. The findings from this research provide Extension agents and agricultural communicators guidance for creating and researching risk communication during a pandemic in relation to food purchasing behaviors.



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