Risk perception towards food safety issues: GM foods versus non-GM foods

Author: Latifah Amin 1, Zurina Mahadi 1, Abdul Latif Samian 2 and Rozita Ibrahim 1
Received 3 November 2012, accepted 22 January 2013.
Abstract

Food is a need for every living man on the earth. With the advance in various technologies, food production has dramatically increased in quantity but not necessarily in quality. The public has become more concerned about the risks from food hazards in recent years. So it is important to assess the level of awareness and food safety concerns amongst the public and to study how they perceived the risk aspects of several food safety issues. A survey was carried out on the general public (550 respondents) in the Klang Valley region, stratified according to their occupation classification by Malaysian Standard Classification of Occupations 1998. Risk perception was measured using self-developed questionnaires with seven point Likert scales. The Malaysian public was found to be highly attentive to food safety issues, but they only have moderate knowledge on food safety and divided on how to choose quality food. The level of awareness towards several food safety issues varies. Only food preservatives and pesticide residues were perceived as familiar. All six food safety issues were perceived as risky by the respondents and need high level of regulation. The level of perceived benefits and encouragement differed across food safety issues. GM palm oil and GM soybean were the only food safety issues perceived as beneficial and were moderately encouraged. The level of confidence towards Malaysian regulatory body related to food safety among the respondents who were aware about its existence was moderate. It can be concluded that the public perceived and assessed food risks as a complex and sensitive expressions of their value system as well as multi-dimensional. Results from this study provide some insights into the social acceptance of food-related technologies in developing countries that can be adopted by food scientists, food industries and government regulatory bodies in developing suitable risk communication strategies.

Journal: Food, Agriculture and Environment (JFAE)
Online ISSN: 1459-0263Year: 2013, Vol. 11, Issue 1, pages 28-35. Publisher: WFL.


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