Pesticides as food contaminants: A pilot project for correct public information

Gabriella Morasso, Claudia Bolognesi, Elena Duglio, Marco Musso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite the fact that scientific statements coming from several toxicological studies provide a strong indication of the low risk of pesticides residues [Bolognesi, C., Morasso, G. (in press) 'Genotoxicity of Pesticides: Potential Risk for Consumers' Food Science & Technology], the general population does not seem to have the same assurances as experts: consumers' perception may widely differ from the orientation offered by health authorities [Slovic, P. (1987) 'Perception of Risk' in Science, 17 April, 236, 280-285; Segal, M. (1990) 'Is it Worth the Worry? Determining Risk' US Food and Drug Administration; Forsythe, R.H. (1993) 'Risk: Reality Versus Perception' in Poult. Sci. 72, 1152-1156; Sparks, P. and Shephered, R. (1994) 'Public Perception of the Potential Hazards Associated with Food Production and Food Consumption: An Empirical Study' in Risk Analysis 14, 799-806; Knox, B. (2000) 'Consumer Perception and Understanding of Risk from Food' in Br. Med. Bull. 56, 97-109]. This cognitive-evaluative process may affect personal behaviour or lifestyle and may induce consumers to reduce or eliminate the use of certain foods which they feel contain pesticides [Fischhoff, B. and Dows, J.S. (1997) 'Communicating Foodborne Disease Risk' in Emerg. Infect. Dis. 3, 489-495; Stili di vita e condizioni di salute. (1999) 'Sistema Statistico Nazionale', Istituto Nazionale di Statistica (ISTAT)]. Therefore, authorities and educational experts should take objective assessment as well as subjective risk perception into account to come to a higher awareness in the accomplishment of an appropriate food choice. Following this premise and owing to the lack and unsuitability of information on the way pesticides are used in Italy, a new information system on food, called NAFSA, was created to increase consumers' awareness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)379-382
Number of pages4
JournalTrends in Food Science and Technology
Issue number9-10
Publication statusPublished - Sep 10 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Biotechnology


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