Whom to trust with genes on the menu?

Matthias Kohring, Anneloes Meijnders, Cees Midden, Susanna Öhman, Anna Olofsson, Jörg Matthes, Maria Rusanen, Jan Gutteling, Tomasz Twardowski

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterAcademicpeer-review


Food is something very special in our lives. This is not only and exclusively eating, calories and market. In the case of food, we have also to take into account the cultural aspects such as religion and tradition. For example, people were and still are told by religious authorities to eat only fish on Friday or to avoid pork. More recently, in the European Union (EU) we have witnessed a novel tendency: slow food. This new trend re-evaluates eating as having a social value. However, the case of authority has changed: whereas the evaluation of food is still dependent on cultural aspects, people now have to consider what scientific authorities tell them about the health consequences of food. For example, fat has been identified as a serious cause of heart diseases, and there are many other warnings that people were never concerned about in former times. Throughout the past decade, we have observed a new development on the food market: genetically modified (GM) food. Since people cannot directly smell and taste the genetic modification, that is, they cannot distinguish between a genetically modified and a ‘normal’ tomato, they are even more dependent on experts. The question of how non-experts can acquire knowledge to inform their own decisions about GM food leads to the crucial problem of trust in information sources.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGenomics & society : legal, ethical & social dimensions
Subtitle of host publicationLegal, Ethical and Social Dimensions
EditorsG. Gaskell, M.W. Bauer
Place of PublicationLondon, U.K.
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781849773867
ISBN (Print)978-1-8440-7113-5
Publication statusPublished - 2006

Publication series

NameScience in society series


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