Food price increase and periodic alarms for food scarcity at global scale have caught Italian public opinion attention. 60% of European believe that food (low) quality is a major threat for health, more risky that pollution or dumbing of waste.
Italian worries about food mainly concern the use of pesticides in cultivations: over one third of Italians is afraid of their effects. GMOs are considered much less hazardous (16,9%), as well as the way animals are bred or the animals deseases, such as BSE or avian flu (9,1%).
Actually, Italian public opinion nowadays appears to be less interested in GMOs, non only as potential hazard, but also as potential answer to food problems. Italian expect scientific research to help to obtain food better enriched with vitamins, proteins and minerals (30%) and to improve food preservative techniques (29%).
Results and comments on the article by Valeria Arzenton, published in Nova24-Il Sole 24 Ore on the 9th october 2008
The above findings will be soon published in V. Arzenton and M. Bucchi (eds): Annuario Scienza e Società 2009, with Italians, science and the environment. Second report on science, technology and public opinion in Italy, Bologna: Il Mulino.
The Science in Society Monitor is an initiative by Observa Science in Society supported by the the Foundation Compagnia di San Paolo. The research supervisors are Massimiano Bucchi (University of Trento), Federico Neresini and Giuseppe Pellegrini (University of Padua), in association with Valeria Arzenton.
The survey was conducted by means of CATI-method telephone interviews with a sample of 996 subjects, stratified by gender, age, and geographical area of residence, and representing the Italian population aged 15 and over.
(Translation by Sara Pascoli)