The Complex Relationships Between Humans, Food, Water, and Hygiene

  • Aleardo Zaccheo
  • Eleonora Palmaccio
  • Morgan Venable
  • Isabella Locarnini-Sciaroni
  • Salvatore Parisi


Humans have very complex and intricate relationships with food water not only because they are after Oxygen, the most essential elements for life and metabolic requirements for the life of all animals, but also because along with the concept of hygiene they are object of heated discussion and controversies. In general food safety ranks as one of the highest priorities in most developed countries, but in the rest of the less privileged world more fundamental needs of achieving international water sanitation targets and food security are more imperative. The global life expectancy at birth has increased in recent years but child obesity as well. The current public opinion about food and water related risks vary greatly, and differences between perceived risks and real risks seem to be centered on natural ethnocentrisms, which not only guides the choice of foods but also our perception and management of food related risks.


Sanitation Hygiene Risks Perceptions Life expectancy Years of life lost Child obesity Ethnocentrism Vulnerability to infection 


  1. 1.
    Wikipedia (2014) Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. Accessed 08 Dec 2014
  2. 2.
    WHO, World Health Organization, ebrary, Inc. (2010) World Health Statistics 2010. Accessed 08 Dec 2014
  3. 3.
    WHO, World Health Organization (2014) World Health Statistics 2014. Accessed 08 Dec 2014
  4. 4.
    EFSA, European Food Safety Authority (2010) 2010 Eurobarometer survey report on risk perception in the EU. Accessed 08 Dec 2014
  5. 5.
    International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation (2010) 2010 Food and health survey: consume attitudes towards safety, nutrition and health. Accessed 09 Dec 2014
  6. 6.
    Laboratorio Cantonale (2003) Opuscolo Informativo 2003. Accessed 07 May 2013
  7. 7.
    Lajevardi M, Memeshi EG, Fakharmanesh S, Shirzadegan A, Lajevardi M (2014) Investigating the effect of customer ethnocentrism on awareness of customer from product origin. Adv Environ Biol 8(9):267–277. Accessed 13 Aug 2014
  8. 8.
    Navarrete CD, Fessler DMT, Eng SJ (2007) Elevated ethnocentrism in the first trimester of pregnancy. Evol Hum Behav 28(1):60–65. doi: 10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2006.06.002 CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Aleardo Zaccheo
    • 1
  • Eleonora Palmaccio
    • 1
  • Morgan Venable
    • 2
  • Isabella Locarnini-Sciaroni
    • 3
  • Salvatore Parisi
    • 4
  1. 1.bioethica food safety engineering sagl.Lugano-PregassonaSwitzerland
  2. 2.Consultant Registered DieticianMedegliaSwitzerland
  3. 3.Salumificio Sciaroni S.A.SementinaSwitzerland
  4. 4.Industrial ConsultantPalermoItaly

Personalised recommendations