The food safety problem in China poses a set of urgent, multifaceted and serious challenges to the Chinese public, society and state, with important ramifications for social justice and national health. The disproportionate share of household expenses and unpaid household labour that women in China administer means that Chinese women are an important demographic in the shaping of new patterns of household food consumption in the face of prevalent food safety risks. Drawing upon Ulrich Beck’s risk society thesis, this study investigates the food safety attitudes, knowledge and behaviours among Chinese women of different social backgrounds. Aiming to identify important factors of influence on the varying ability of women in China to manage food safety risks effectively, this study does a comparative analysis of the findings through triangulation of theory on health risk behaviours and gender roles, ethnographic data from 13 qualitative interviews, 60 quantitative survey questionnaires and participant observation from food outlets, and draws on existing ethnographic research on Chinese food consumption- and risk behaviours. The study finds that access to arable land, living situation and income are strong influences on the safety of food consumption among sample participants and that urban households with school age children, singletons, students and low income households are less able to safeguard household food consumption, causing an uneven distribution of food safety risk exposure among different social groups, with adverse consequences for social justice and equality of health. This poses the threat of risk mitigation apathy among more disadvantaged groups.