Food Security

, Volume 5, Issue 2, pp 177–187 | Cite as

Food chemistry and chemophobia

  • Gordon W. GribbleEmail author
Original Paper


Chemophobia is the exaggerated fear of anything ‘chemical’ which is found quite widespread both in the Western world and in Asia. That food incontrovertibly is chemistry seems to require regulation of all sorts. As we will see below, that would truly necessitate gargantuan determination exceeding every regulatory effort to date. Worse, it will be futile. Our food is peppered with natural compounds such as organohalogens, dioxins, aflatoxins, and many others. These we will briefly discuss, including their natural whereabouts. Overall, the aim of this paper is to show that food is chemistry beyond our immediate control, including those synthetic chemicals that are deemed to be artificial and should not be found in ‘safe’ food. The latter is an overestimation of regulatory competence and an underestimation of nature to produce most unlikely chemicals in unlikely places, including our food.


Chemistry Organohalogens Chemophobia Food safety Food security 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht and International Society for Plant Pathology 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryDartmouth CollegeHanoverUSA

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