Food chemistry and chemophobia

Abstract

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.

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Correspondence to Gordon W. Gribble.

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Gribble, G.W. Food chemistry and chemophobia. Food Sec. 5, 177–187 (2013). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12571-013-0251-2

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Keywords

  • Chemistry
  • Organohalogens
  • Chemophobia
  • Food safety
  • Food security