Enriching food and improving food preservative techniques

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The Science in Society Monitor’s latest survey is going to be presented in preview at the Fourth World Conference “The Future of Science

According to Italians, the most important contributions science can offer to deal with food crisis are food enriched with vitamins, proteins and minerals (30%) and new food preservatives techniques (29%). Interest in (and worries about) GMOs decreases: 33% of Italians believe that pesticides are major threats to food quality.

Food price increases and periodic alarms for food scarcity at global scale have caught Italian public opinion attention. Almost one Italian out of two believes that the Third World hunger represents the main emergency at global level, more serious than environmental damage or economic crisis.

But, what kind of contribute could science offer in order to deal with such a striking issue? Italians expect science to help to both obtain food enriched with vitamins, proteins and minerals (30%) and improve food preservative techniques (29%).

These are some of the latest Science in Society Monitor’s key findings, which Observa presented in preview at the Fourth World Conference “The future of Science” (24-27 sept. 2008), devoted to “food and water for life” issues.

According to Massimiano Bucchi, Professor in Science, Technology and Society at the University of Trento and one of the Science in Society Monitor’s editors, “Italians’ expectations on the contribution of science regarding Third World hunger, are linked to a more and more widespread sensitiveness to our food quality and safety: today, Italians’ priorities concerns investments in quality control, organic farming and typical food production. The opportunity to genetically modify animals and plants to make them healthier, more productive and resistant to parasites remains in second place. Italian Public opinion nowadays appears to be less interested in GMOs, non only as potential answer to food problems, but also as potential hazard: Italians are a lot more worried about the use of pesticides in farming, which is considered a major threat for food quality by 33% of the interviewees.

The Future of Science is a cycle of annual international conferences jointly organised by Fondazione Umberto Veronesi, Fondazione Silvio Tronchetti Provera and Fondazione Giorgio Cini.

Aim of the Conferences is to underline the importance of scientific development as essential tool to improve the quality of our life and to define a new role of science in the society of the third millennium.

Experts of international renown from various spheres and disciplines are invited to give their points of view on these issues, which are crucial to the destiny of our society, addressing to a public of scientists, philosophers, theologians, industrialists, politicians, economists, journalists, students and anyone might be interested in social, economic and political consequences of constant scientific development.

The Fourth World Conference on The Future of Science explores a theme that puts science at the centre of the social debate: Food and Water for Life.

The aim is to offer a global vision of problems such as water scarcity, the development of sustainable agriculture, food safety, food and health; and indicate how science and technology can contribute to solving these problems. Economic, political and ethical aspects will also be discussed.

The conference starts from the premise that all have a right to clean water and wholesome food. These are not only moral imperatives: investment to realize them will bring major economic returns.

As with past Future of Science Conferences, the fourth Conference will take place over three days on the Island of San Giorgio in the Lagoon of Venice. Speakers of international renown from various disciplines will examine problems of food and water in the light of the affirmation of the Venice Charter that major goals of applied scientific research must be the eradication of poverty and hunger, and the provision of water for agriculture and uncontaminated water for drinking. Seeking to draw science and society closer together, the Conference is aimed not just at scientists but also economists, managers, politicians, journalists, students and everyone else interested in the contribution of science to solving major global problems.

More information at the official website www.futureofscience.org.