ArticlePDF AvailableLiterature Review


Attention to urban agriculture (UA) has recently grown among practitioners, scientists, and the public, resulting in several initiatives worldwide. Despite the positive perception of modern UA and locally grown, fresh produce, the potential food safety risks connected to these practices may be underestimated, leading to regulatory gaps. Thus, there is a need for assessment tools to evaluate the food safety risks connected to specific UA initiatives, to assist practitioners in self-evaluation and control, and to provide policy makers and scholars a means to pursue and assess food safety in city regions, avoiding either a lack or an excess of regulation that could ultimately hinder the sector. To address this aim, this paper reviews the most recent and relevant literature on UA food safety assessments. Food safety indicators were identified first. Then, a food safety assessment framework for UA initiatives was developed. The framework uses business surveys and food analyses (if available) as a data source for calculating a food safety index for single UA businesses and the whole UA landscape of a given city region. The proposed framework was designed to allow its integration into the CRFS (City Region Food System) toolkit developed by FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), RUAF foundation (Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture and Food Security) and Wilfrid Laurier University.
Food Control 126 (2021) 108085
Available online 18 March 2021
0956-7135/© 2021 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license
Reviewing chemical and biological risks in urban agriculture: A
comprehensive framework for a food safety assessment of city region
food systems
E. Buscaroli
, I. Braschi
, C. Cirillo
, A. Fargue-Leli`
, G.C. Modarelli
, G. Pennisi
I. Righini
, K. Specht
, F. Orsini
Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences, Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna, Bologna, Italy
Department of Agricultural Sciences, University of Naples Federico II, Portici, Italy
UMR SAD-APT AgroParistech-INRAE, Paris, France
Wageningen UR Greenhouse Horticulture, Wageningen, the Netherlands
ILS- Research Institute for Regional and Urban Development, Dortmund, Germany
Food safety indicators
CRFS framework Assessment
Risk assessment
Food policy
Attention to urban agriculture (UA) has recently grown among practitioners, scientists, and the public, resulting
in several initiatives worldwide. Despite the positive perception of modern UA and locally grown, fresh produce,
the potential food safety risks connected to these practices may be underestimated, leading to regulatory gaps.
Thus, there is a need for assessment tools to evaluate the food safety risks connected to specic UA initiatives, to
assist practitioners in self-evaluation and control, and to provide policy makers and scholars a means to pursue
and assess food safety in city regions, avoiding either a lack or an excess of regulation that could ultimately
hinder the sector. To address this aim, this paper reviews the most recent and relevant literature on UA food
safety assessments. Food safety indicators were identied rst. Then, a food safety assessment framework for UA
initiatives was developed. The framework uses business surveys and food analyses (if available) as a data source
for calculating a food safety index for single UA businesses and the whole UA landscape of a given city region.
The proposed framework was designed to allow its integration into the CRFS (City Region Food System) toolkit
developed by FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations), RUAF foundation (Resource
Centres on Urban Agriculture and Food Security) and Wilfrid Laurier University.
1. Urban agriculture: goals, benets and perception
Urban agriculture (UA) is a strategic tool for food security in cities of
the global south, as well as a powerful asset for urban sustainability and
climate change adaptation in the global north (Orsini et al., 2020). In
recent years, the importance of UA has largely increased, with the
ourishing of many diverse initiatives and pilots, such as urban or-
chards, vertical farms, aquaponics or even more complex green in-
dustryplants (e.g., water treatment plants integrating hydroponics and
heat generation). UA initiatives have great potential for positive social
and economic impacts (Hallett et al., 2016; Horst et al., 2017; Kunpeuk
et al., 2020) as well as resilient food provision processes or contributions
that shorten the municipal food supply chain (European Commission,
2015) in both the global north and south (De Zeeuw et al., 2011; Hallett
et al., 2016). Moreover, technologically advanced UA projects, provided
that they are economically sustainable, can have a positive impact on
employment, food carbon footprint reduction, efcient land manage-
ment and food market diversication (G´
omez et al., 2019; Rothwell
et al., 2016; Sany´
e-Mengual et al., 2019; Savvas & Gruda, 2018). Such
initiatives integrate well with municipal networks of food producers,
distributors, processors, and consumers. Therefore, UA may contribute
to global food policy objectives (Local Governments for Sustainability
[ICLEI], 2015; Food and Agriculture Organization of United Nations
[FAO] & Resource Centres for Urban Agriculture and Food Security
[RUAF], 2015), ultimately enabling sustainable and resilient urban or
regional food supply chains, as recently dened within the framework
* Corresponding author. Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences DISTAL ALMA MATER STUDIORUM University of Bologna, Viale G. Fanin, 40
40127, Bologna, Italy.
E-mail address: (I. Braschi).
Contents lists available at ScienceDirect
Food Control
journal homepage:
Received 22 January 2021; Received in revised form 12 March 2021; Accepted 13 March 2021
Food Control 126 (2021) 108085
for City Region Food System (CRFS) (FAO & RUAF, 2015; RUAF, 2015).
The CRFS approach promotes sustainable and resilient food systems
among urban centres, peri-urban areas and rural territories, forming a
city region by strengthening their connections. Following this approach,
the FAO and RUAF CRFS toolkit evaluates the status of a food system
through specic indicators for different policy areas, helping
decision-makers pursue desired goals (Blay-Palmer et al., 2018; FAO &
RUAF, 2015). The strengthening of a CRFS through modern and inter-
sectional UA production initiatives is recognized as an extremely valu-
able tool for policy challenges and the creation of social and economic
value (Maye, 2019).
UA initiatives are diverse; more traditional initiatives, such as
farmersmarkets or community gardens, are usually well accepted by
consumers and residents, especially with regard to locally produced food
(Feldmann & Hamm, 2015). The same is not necessarily true for more
technologically advanced systems, such as aquaponics, insect farming,
algae and indoor vegetable production, for which there is a different
degree of consumer acceptance (Specht et al., 2019). Undeniably, the
literature reveals that consumers tend to overestimate the food safety
level of locally grown food compared to large-scale retail trade produce,
as they perceive locally grown food as more genuine(Khouryieh et al.,
2019; Mohammad et al., 2019; Yu et al., 2017). However, shortening the
distance from farm to fork may result in the avoidance of safety and/or
quality controls and an oversimplication of safety-assuring procedures.
Moreover, peri-urban agriculture and, especially, urban allotment gar-
dens may suffer signicantly from urban-related environmental pollu-
tion (S¨
aumel et al., 2012). On the other hand, modern and innovative
cultivation techniques (such as plant factories with articial lighting
[PFALs], recirculating systems, soilless systems, or vertical farms in
general) are not necessarily considered appealing to consumers. This
could be a consequence of a lack of awareness (Ercilla-Montserrat et al.,
2019) or of the common narrative for which traditionally grown food is
better and more natural. However, while advanced UA production
systems are generally well accepted (Jürkenbeck et al., 2019; Miliˇ
et al., 2017; Pollard et al., 2017; Sany´
e-Mengual et al., 2018; Specht
et al., 2016), studies on consumerssafety perception of their produce
are scarce and locally based (Kaiser et al., 2015). Apart from their
perception, short food supply chains, farmersmarkets, directly sold
produce, and modern cultivation techniques do not intrinsically guar-
antee high levels of food safety and have potential biological and
chemical risks (Antisari et al., 2015; Riggio et al., 2019; S¨
aumel et al.,
1.1. Food safety regulations and CRFS assessment approaches
Within the European Union (EU), food and feed sanitization rules for
all supply-chain operators (from farm to fork) were adopted in 2004
through Regulations (EC) 852/2004, 853/2004, and 854/2004 that
came into force on January 1, 2006. A certain degree of exibility was
also considered for microenterprises and some food producers. These
exceptions allowed small local businesses to stay in the market without
being overwhelmed by unaffordable costs required to comply with
sanitization regulations, provided some conditions were satised. For
example, EU member states can grant derogations to some animal-based
traditional foodsrecognized within the EU. Additionally, farm shops
or micro-producers selling their own products directly to consumers in
small quantities can be subject to simplied regulations, although more
stringent member state regulations can still be in force. Nevertheless, the
risk for avoiding food control still exists due to intrinsic traceability
difculties justied by small lots and an extremely large number of
micro-food businesses, accounting for over two hundred thousand food
and drinking micro-enterprises (European Executive Agency for Small-
and Medium-sized Enterprises [EASME], 2019).
In many Western countries, locally and traditionally grown food
from small businesses has a better reputation to consumers, despite
being, in many cases, less regulated and less systematically controlled
than larger scale retail and imported food (Herman et al., 2012; Pus-
semier et al., 2012). Short supply-chain food (including produce from
UA initiatives) should not meet a lower food safety standard than
traditional large-scale retail trade produce (for which regulations and
controls are broadly in place). Adequate quality controls should also be
adopted for short supply-chain food whenever they do not already exist.
A simplied and adaptable company structure, in addition to low dis-
tribution costs, should allow the competitiveness of short supply-chain
businesses rather than safety control avoidance.
The contribution of UA to local food system performance and to the
improvement of urban resilience and sustainability can be effectively
assessed through the CRFS methodological approach (Blay-Palmer et al.,
2018). Nevertheless, as the increase in the strength of UA initiatives is
being considered, a fundamental investment in food policy becomes
crucial (FAO, 2019; von der Leyen, 2019), especially regarding food
safety risk assessments of UA initiatives and local food businesses.
Specically, there is a concurrent need to a) ensure that efcient control
protocols are in place in small traditional businesses, b) prevent possible
risks in UA practices of different natures/sources, and c) improve the
public perception of food safety in technological systems.
Currently, with the CRFS assessment proposed by the FAO and RUAF
(Carey & Dubbeling, 2017), the global food safety level of the CRFS can
be generally assessed by surveys and secondary data, as some general
food safety indicators are proposed (e.g., indicators 50 to 55). Carey and
Dubbeling (2017) suggest, whenever possible, gathering disaggregated
data. In this paper, a more detailed approach is proposed for UA, con-
sisting of a) production of a UA initiatives inventory and b) assessment
of their individual food safety risk level through specic risk-based
scores. Public administrators and policy makers could rely on a more
detailed assessment of local UA food businesses and producers to help
them become empowered. Moreover, businesses themselves could
benet from these assessments. In fact, businesses would be able to
improve their own food control programs, link analyses with proper risk
management, and provide tools for good manufacturing or agricultural
practices (GMP and GAP) and training.
This study detects the main food safety risks connected to UA
vegetable production practices through an extensive scientic literature
investigation, with the following aims:
Identify the main food safety risks from the available literature;
Develop an analytical framework to evaluate the food safety of single
UA initiatives; and
Propose an index that enables UA businesses to improve their own
food safety control.
The proposed framework, even if aimed at evaluating single UA
initiatives, was developed to be compatible with the CRFS assessment
and monitoring approaches contained in the FAO/RUAF CRFS toolkit
(Carey & Dubbeling, 2017; FAO, RUAF, & Wilfrid Laurier University
2. Literature research methodology
2.1. Background setting and protocol study denition
An initial literature overview of food safety and health risk assess-
ments related to UA food production was performed in May 2020 to
provide a basis to set up the search keywords for the subsequent sys-
tematic review. The following string was adopted when searching the
PubMed, Scopus, and Web of Science databases:
(Urban AgricultureOR CRFSOR City Region Food Systems)
AND Food Safety
No chronological constraints were set. The search produced a total of
73 results. The entries were hence screened by discarding textbook
E. Buscaroli et al.
Food Control 126 (2021) 108085
chapters (8), non-English texts (3), false positives completely unrelated
to food safety (5), a duplicate entry (1) and a paper with no full text
available (1).
The 55 resulting papers were diverse in scope and perspective,
documenting UA initiatives from very different parts of the world
(Figure SM1). Only 31 of them referred to specic food safety risks of UA
initiatives (e.g., foodborne pathogens and potentially toxic elements),
while the remaining 24 either addressed food safety in general without
addressing any specic risks or did not present any risk at all (only 2
papers). Thirty-ve papers considered the social, economic and sus-
tainability impacts of UA, while only 19 were actual food safety
The geographical distribution of the 55 papers (Figure SM1A)
conrmed that the issue of food safety connected to UA is not pre-
dominant in the worlds global south, where possibly other issues
associated with UA (e.g., its contribution to food security) prevail
(Orsini et al., 2013). Thus, the risk of a geographic bias of the search
results was deemed negligible.
Overall, this preliminary research suggested the following possible
risks: a) difculty in distinctively differentiating studies related to UA
rather than to rural agriculture, mostly due to the generic denition of
UA and b) a possible risk of a high number of false positives, in particular
studies addressing food security and sustainability.
2.2. Systematic literature search protocol
A qualitative systematic literature review (SLR) assessing the main
food safety issues connected to UA was performed from March to June
2020. General principles for a SLR were adopted (Gough et al., 2017), as
well as most appliable PRISMA (Preferred Reporting Items for System-
atic reviews and Meta-Analyses) recommendations (Moher et al., 2009).
Web of Science and Scopus database were chosen. The search was set
with a total of 79 keywords related to UA techniques (e.g., hydroponics
and vertical farming) and hazards (e.g., Salmonella, nitrates, and heavy
metals). The query used for the literature search included all context
and assessmentkeywords (x and y, respectively), as listed in Table 1,
by the formula:
(x1 OR x2 OR x3 OR … xn) AND (y1 OR y2 OR y3 OR … yn) (1)
The search obtained more than a hundred thousand results, most of
which were false positives. Hence, a further selection process was per-
formed, as depicted in Fig. 1. Briey, the rst 500 results of each x:y
combination were manually screened to keep the items relevant to UA
and risk assessment only. Books and book chapters were discarded. The
process resulted in 895 items selected. Furthermore, all duplicates were
discarded, as well as unusable items (e.g., papers with unavailable full
texts or non-English documents), resulting in 665 research products
remaining. Ultimately, only actual UA risk assessment studies were
considered suitable to the scope of the present SLR, and thus, the
following were discarded: a) studies on non-food crops, b) eld studies
in contexts different from urban or peri-urban areas, and c) studies on
animal husbandry, except for aquaculture and aquaponics. Papers
addressed in the selected review papers were considered on a case-by-
case basis. Eventually, 217 papers were selected and used for the qual-
itative analysis. The resulting entries spanned from 1962 to 2020, and
approximately 60% of them were published from 2011 to 2020.
2.3. Data analysis for the development of a UA initiatives food safety
assessment framework
Two key sets of information were extrapolated from the collected
papers necessary for the development of the proposed framework. These
were a) the identication of food safety hazards reported in UA practices
and how they were assessed and b) the classication of UA types and
identication of their inherent risk factors.
2.3.1. Identication of food safety hazards reported in UA practices
In this investigation, both regular and review articles were consid-
ered. The papers were singly considered to collect data about what
hazards were identied and how the risk was assessed (specically,
what parameters were analysed). Eight hazard categories were identi-
ed based on the preliminary examination of title, abstract and key-
words (: a) foodborne pathogens and microorganisms, b) potentially
toxic elements (PTEs), c) pesticide residues, d) nitrate and nitrite con-
tents, e) microfauna and pluricellular parasites, f) persistent organic
pollutants (POPs), g) organic xenobiotics and pharmaceuticals, and h)
hazardous materials. These hazard categories are described in detail in
section 3.1.
Since most papers addressed more than one hazard, the 217 research
papers were broken down into risk assessments, dened as the analytical
determination (laboratory analysis) of one hazard on a specic matrix
(e.g., growing medium, irrigation water, and food products). The papers
contained a total of 399 risk assessments based on gathered data or
direct analyses. As a brief example, Christou et al. (2016) investigated
the quality and safety outputs of strawberries cultivated in ground-based
greenhouses that received wastewater. Here, PTEs and pathogens were
assessed on two matrices (irrigation water and fruit); thus, the paper was
counted as four (4) assessments.
2.3.2. Classication of UA types and identication of their inherent risk
Six different UA classes were identied among the 217 selected pa-
pers: a) soil-based urban and peri-urban green, b) soilless UA systems, c)
aquaponic plants, d) waste assimilating and experimental UA plants, e)
processing and food industries, and f) local markets and retail. The rst
four (a to d) classes were UA production system types. Categories a, b
Table 1
List of X (context) and Y (assessment) keywords used in the literature search
with the query (x1 OR x2 OR x3 OR xn) AND (y1 OR y2 OR y3 OR yn).
X (context) keywords Y (assessment) keywords
City Region Food
Food quality Good agricultural
CRFS Food safety GAP
Hydroponics Pesticides Agricultural practices
Soilless system Plant protection products Polycyclic aromatic
Roof garden PPP PAH
Aquaponics Pesticide residues Persistent organic
Food production Heavy metals POP
Rooftop greenhouse Potentially toxic elements Postharvest handling
PTE Processing practices
Indoor farming Dioxins Consumer handling
Urban farming Dibenzofurans Washing and sanitizing
Leafy Vegetables Polychlorobiphenyls Risk management
Fresh produce PCB Risk assessment
Hydroponic produce Nitrates Benets in nutrition
Nutrient Film
E. coli Nutrient
NFT E. coli O157:H7 Additives
Recirculating nutrient
Salmonella fortica* OR
aquaponic system
Listeria Anti-nutrients
Irrigation water Coliforms Food chain
Urban soil Foodborne illness Food composition
Rural soil Human health Government food
zero km food Community health Bioactive non-nutrients
Urban horticulture Health risk evaluation Food contaminants
Urban agriculture Quantitative microbial risk
Vertical Farming QMRA Nutraceuticals
Ultraviolet treatment Microplastics
Water disinfection treatment Plastics
E. Buscaroli et al.
Food Control 126 (2021) 108085
and c were mutually exclusive. This simplied and generic classication
was adopted to nd similarities among different UA settings described in
different papers. A more rigorous classication of UA production types is
addressed in section 3.2.
The last two classes (e and f) were not UA production systems but
destinations for UA production described or examined in the afore-
mentioned papers. For example, Christou et al. (2016), previously
described in section 2.3.1., accounted for the class categories urban and
peri-urban greens and waste assimilating and experimental UA
2.3.3. Identifying a framework for UA initiative food safety assessment:
development of indicators, index of food safety for single initiatives, and
global CRFS food safety index
Food safety risk indicators were developed to evaluate the food
safety levels of single UA initiatives. The step-by-step procedure for their
development was the following: a) indicators were dened as a mea-
surement of risk, b) each indicator represented a dened risk factor
connected to all possible UA production systems, c) each indicator had a
different weight (or a different score range) reecting the risk likelihood
of the hazards represented, and d) each indicator t a specic risk class
(biological, chemical, and management).
The food safety index (FSI) of a specic UA initiative is calculated as
the weighted average or algebraic sum of all its indicator scores. If an
inventory of all UA initiatives within a CRFS is available, then a global
FSI can also be calculated through a weighted average of the singular FSI
(in this case, the weight is represented by the production volume of each
3. Results
3.1. Most common hazards connected to UA food production in scientic
Overall, the risk assessments consisted of biological or chemical
direct analyses of hazards within fresh produce from UA production
systems, small local processing plants and/or local retailers. A synopsis
of the number of assessments obtained per hazard category per period is
shown in Table 2. For additional details, Fig. 2 displays the number of
papers per hazard category per year (20112020).
3.1.1. Foodborne pathogens and microorganisms
As shown in Table 2, approximately 50% of the risk assessments
contained in the selected papers addressed human pathogens. Such
biological assessments were mostly from a) urban or peri-urban farms
irrigated with greywater, b) hydroponic or aquaponic farms, and c)
processing and sanitizing treatments of fresh produce. Human patho-
gens, such as Escherichia coli, Salmonella enterica, Listeria monocytogenes,
Staphylococcus aureus, and Campylobacter serovars, are ubiquitous in the
environment, commonly associated with faecal matter, and capable of
Fig. 1. Scheme for the systematic literature search.
E. Buscaroli et al.
Food Control 126 (2021) 108085
causing foodborne diseases (Newell et al., 2010; Nyachuba, 2010).
These microorganisms can be found in the growing media of plants (soil,
solid substrates, nutrient solutions, etc.), especially when biological
wastes are used as a nutrient source (Bernstein et al., 2008; Rababah &
Ashbolt, 2000). Pathogens may come in contact with edible parts of
crops and even be internalized in vegetable organisms (Golberg et al.,
2011; Riggio et al., 2019). The most frequently assessed bacterial
pathogens were the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) (Deering et al.,
2012; Koseki et al., 2011; Lopez-Galvez et al., 2014; Moriarty et al.,
2019; Settanni et al., 2013), S. enterica (Castro-Ib´
nez et al., 2015;
Nousiainen et al., 2016; Phungamngoen & Rittisak, 2020), and
L. monocytogenes (SantAna et al., 2014; Y. J.; Wang et al., 2020). Irri-
gation water treatments (Dandie et al., 2019), postharvest sanitation,
and GMP are considered crucial in reducing such biological risks
(Olaimat & Holley, 2012; Trinetta et al., 2012).
Antimicrobial resistant strains of such pathogens were also of
concern (Aarestrup et al., 2008), especially in environments where
continuous exposure to antimicrobials could induce resistance in
microbiota (Checcucci et al., 2020; García et al., 2020; Xi et al., 2015).
Among protozoa, the addressed pathogens were mainly Cryptosporidium
(Eregno et al., 2017) and Giardia (Srikanth & Naik, 2004).
Many research papers have addressed human viruses as well, mostly
norovirus (Carducci et al., 2015; DiCaprio et al., 2012; Wang & Kniel,
2016). In fact, even though viruses are generally inactivated outside of a
host, infecting doses can survive in the environment in multiple ways
until reaching a new host (van Boxstael et al., 2013).
3.1.2. Potentially toxic elements
Approximately 49% of the reviewed papers and 21% of the total
assessments addressed heavy metal and PTE traces in UA production
(Table 2). Plants can accumulate hazardous doses of PTEs from
contaminated growing media due to their capacity to uptake nutrients
(e.g., cobalt, molybdenum, and copper) and translocate them into plant
tissues. This scenario is also the case for elements relatively abundant in
urban environments such as lead, cadmium, and zinc, as well as less
abundant arsenic and mercury (Antisari et al., 2015; Joimel et al., 2020;
Khan et al., 2008; Pennisi et al., 2016, 2017). In addition to the uptake
from soil or growing substrates, plants grown in urban environments
and exposed to open air may be contaminated by dry (particulate) and
wet (smog) deposition of metal-containing particles that originate from
trafc and heating pollution (Ercilla-Montserrat et al., 2018; Mu et al.,
3.1.3. Pesticides residues
Less than 11% of the examined literature (7% of the assessments,
Table 2) addressed residues of plant protection products (PPPs) or pes-
ticides in UA. Most intensive horticulture areas or peri-urban farms have
been studied (Polder et al., 2016; Zhang et al., 2013). Soilless cultures
were also addressed (Savvas & Gruda, 2018) but were mainly used for
modelling studies and did not reect real case risks (Ni et al., 2018; Yang
et al., 2019).
Active substances of PPP (mainly insecticides, herbicides, and fun-
gicides) may persist on edible parts of plants for several days after
treatment. In urban environments, pesticide treatments are also per-
formed for non-agricultural purposes, such as mosquito or roadside
herbicidal treatments (Md Meftaul et al., 2020). Normally, permitted
treatments have precautionary limitations, such as a minimum latency
period before harvest or a minimum distance from roadsides and resi-
dential buildings. Hence, the presence of pesticide residues in food
would most commonly be caused by a) disregard for precautionary
limitations, b) misuse of authorized active substances, and c) use of
unauthorized substances. Unfortunately, detailed assessments on the use
of pesticides in allotment gardens were missing, yet it can be assumed
that risk is present (Atkinson et al., 1979; Voigt et al., 2015).
Table 2
Number of hazard assessments by category and period.
Hazard category assessed Nof assessments
Period Total
<2001 20012010 20112020
Foodborne pathogens and
39 39 123 201
PTEs and heavy metals 13 20 51 84
Pesticides residues 5 9 13 27
Nitrate and nitrite 7 4 27 38
Microfauna and pluricellular
4 13 0 17
POPs 5 3 9 17
Xenobiotics (organic compounds)
and pharmaceuticals
1 1 10 12
Toxins 1 0 1 2
Hazardous materials 0 0 1 1
PTEs: potentially toxic elements; PPP: plant protection products; POPs: persis-
tent organic pollutants.
Fig. 2. Number of papers per hazard category per year (20112020).
E. Buscaroli et al.
Food Control 126 (2021) 108085
3.1.4. Nitrate and nitrite
Even if nitrate does not have high acute toxicity per se, it may be
implicated in human methemoglobinemia disease (Hegesh & Shiloah,
1982; Langlois & Calabrese, 1992; Manassaram et al., 2010). Most
importantly, nitrate metabolites and reaction products from human
digestion (e.g., nitrite, N-nitroso compounds, and nitrosamines) have
high toxicity levels and have been connected to gastrointestinal cancer,
as stated by the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) in 2017 (Mor-
tensen et al., 2017). Nitrate and nitrite are naturally present in plants,
where nitric nitrogen can be stored as a salt in cell vacuoles when it
exceeds plant requirements. Nitrite is formed by the reduction of nitrate
as a rst step of nitrogen assimilation processes.
Some leafy vegetables have the tendency to accumulate high con-
centrations of nitrate in edible tissues (leaves especially). Approximately
13% of reviewed papers (9.5% of the assessments, Table 2) addressed
nitrate excess in UA-produced vegetables as a food safety risk. Never-
theless, in most cases, the general purpose of the assessment was related
to plant nutrition optimization rather than to proper safety risk deter-
mination. Vegetables such as spinach, kale, and chard (Bosnir et al.,
2017) may contain up to hundreds or even thousands of mg of nitric
nitrogen per kg of plant tissue. Rocket is one of the most
nitrate-accumulating leafy vegetables, often containing several thou-
sands of mg kg
tissue (Cavaiuolo & Ferrante, 2014). In traditional
agriculture and non-protected environments, the seasonality of nitrate
content in many vegetables is strong, as the content of nitrate in autumn
harvests is signicantly higher than that in other periods (Bosnir et al.,
2017). In protected environments, the risk could be even higher, as ni-
trate levels frequently exceed plant requirements in nutrient solutions.
This is especially the case for hydroponics (Guadagnin et al., 2005) and
aquaponics (P´
erez-Urrestarazu et al., 2019). As a result, leafy vegetables
from any cultivation typology may contain nitrate concentrations higher
than those recommended by the European Commission in 2011
(6002000 mg kg
of product, EU Commission Regulation No
1258/2011). For the sake of clarity, it should be considered that nitrate
intake includes multiple dietary and non-dietary sources other than
vegetables, such as food additives, processed meat (Honikel, 2008) and
drinking water (van den Brand et al., 2020).
3.1.5. Microfauna and pluricellular parasites
For the remaining sections, as the number of papers decreases, the
difference between the % of total papers and the % of total assessments
loses meaning, and only the second will be provided. As reported in
Table 2, approximately 4% of the assessments addressed pluricellular
parasites. Most of these studies focused on the effect of untreated
wastewater utilization in extensive UA in the global south (Amoah et al.,
2005) but not exclusively (Forslund et al., 2010). Ova of pluricellular
worms such as Taenia, Fasciola and Ascaris are common in faeces, cattle
sludge, and urban wastewater (Newell et al., 2010). Untreated water and
compost can harbour active ova, and if used in UA, this water and
compost may result in vegetable contamination, hence causing para-
sitosis to consumers, as is commonly reported (Al-Megrin, 2010; Matini
et al., 2016).
3.1.6. Persistent organic pollutants
Approximately 4% of the assessments focused on POPs (Table 2).
These are particularly hazardous and recalcitrant chemicals listed by the
World Health Organization for special surveillance. Many POPs were
originally used as pesticides prior to their prohibition, as was the case for
aldrin, dieldrin, chlordane, DDT, etc. Other POPs are polychlorinated
biphenyls (PCBs) and dioxin-like compounds such as polychlorinated
dibenzodioxins or polychlorinated dibenzofurans (PCDDs and PCDFs,
respectively), both by-products of waste combustion under certain
conditions. While PCB use and production are currently banned, dioxin-
like compounds are still generated from unauthorized waste combus-
tion. The latter spread through contaminated particulate matter sus-
pended in air and then are deposited on land. Heavily contaminated sites
are generally under surveillance by local authorities. Few papers have
addressed these contaminants in UA initiatives, mostly in contaminated
urban and peri-urban sites or experimental set-ups (Tozzi et al., 2020;
Urban et al., 2014; Wu et al., 2012).
3.1.7. Organic xenobiotics and pharmaceuticals
Approximately 3% of the assessments addressed other potentially
hazardous organic xenobiotics and active principles (Table 2), which
were not PPPs. The most notable examples were assessments of multiple
xenobiotics in vegetables irrigated with reclaimed water (Dodgen et al.,
2013; Margenat et al., 2018). Moreover, Mathews et al. (2014) assessed
plant uptake of two antimicrobials under hydroponic conditions.
3.1.8. Toxins
The presence of toxins such as patulin, cyanotoxin, ochratoxin and
aatoxin is generally associated with their respective microbial
contamination, as well as processing and/or storage mismanagement.
Only 2 assessments (Table 2) addressed this risk in UA: Hao et al. (1999)
assessed the presence of botulin in packaged vegetables, while Har-
iprasad et al. (2013) investigated the presence of aatoxin in green leafy
vegetables. Additionally, Lee and colleagues studied the internalization
of cyanobacteria and the presence of cyanotoxin in lettuce through
simulated scenarios of contaminated water irrigation (Lee et al., 2021).
3.1.9. Hazardous materials
Theoretically, certain materials may cause adverse health effects to
consumers and operators when coming into contact with food or food
production. This scenario occurs for hazardous materials such as
asbestos, engineered nanoparticles and plastic micro or nanoparticles.
No studies involving the presence or risk of asbestos in the context of UA
were found. The only paper dealing with hazardous materials (a single
assessment, as reported in Table 2) was from Ma et al. who reviewed the
assimilation risks of nanoparticles, as well as the environmental effects
on soil and plants in several studies (Ma et al., 2018). Asbestos and
nanoparticle risks, however, are not inherently connected to UA prac-
tices, and their presence may be situational yet not negligible. Similarly,
apart from the results of the present literature analysis, it may be
necessary to mention another potential emerging risk to consider: the
ubiquity of micro- and nanoplastics capable of contaminating the tro-
phic chain in various ways, such as biomagnication, packaging
contamination and internalization in crops (Rai et al., 2021; Senathir-
ajah et al., 2021; Wang et al., 2019).
3.2. UA production systems and technologies as food safety risk factors
As reported by various authors (Eigenbrod & Gruda, 2015; Lovell,
2010; Mok et al., 2014), UA initiatives in developed countries are greatly
varied and diverse in scope, structure, and production means. Neigh-
bourhood and community gardens, allotment gardens, peri-urban farms,
aquaponics, PFALs and experimental plants can all be included among
UA initiatives (OSullivan et al., 2019). For this reason, a clear denition
of UA typologies would be of great importance for UA initiative as-
sessments. In the scope of this work, the use of different UA technologies
involved different grades of food safety risk. According to the ndings of
our literature review, the most critical environmental aspects for the
categorization of UA production systems were a) the use of natural soil
rather than articial media, b) exposure to pests, air pollution and/or
atmospheric fallout, and c) the use of waste or by-products harbouring
biological and/or chemical risks. The rst two criteria were consistent
with those proposed in Goldsteins taxonomy (Goldstein et al., 2016).
Goldstein and co-authors proposed a UA classication based on four
different types dened by two functional and technological criteria: a)
integration with other buildings (ground-based vs building integrated)
and 2) condition of the space (conditioned or nonconditioned). As stated
before, soil-exposed UA farms may be seen as ground-based UA types,
while open-air initiatives are the equivalent of non-conditioned types.
E. Buscaroli et al.
Food Control 126 (2021) 108085
Unfortunately, such specic cataloguing could not be systematically
adopted in this study because of the heterogeneity and/or lack of in-
formation regarding the UA systems described in the selected papers. In
addition, the use of wastes as growing media is not covered in Gold-
steins taxonomy, according to which all four types have potential for
liquid and solid waste assimilation. However, the use of risk-harbouring
wastes is crucial for food safety assessments of UA. Since the authors
consider Goldsteins taxonomy valuable, despite some limitations to the
scope of the present work, in this paper the term typeswill refer to this
taxonomy and used when possible; in addition, productive systemor
systemwill be used as a general term. In Table 3, the number of
research papers per production system or context per hazard category
and per time period are presented. In the following sections, the main
food safety risks connected with specic aspects of UA production sys-
tems are presented.
3.2.1. Soil exposure: soil-based vs soilless systems
The most notable examples of soil-based UA systems or ground-based
types (Goldstein et al., 2016) are allotment gardens, traditional
peri-urban farms, community greens and urban orchards. They are
generally found in city suburbs or peri-urban areas. Topsoil, in addition
to possible irrigation techniques, is used to produce fresh vegetables
and, less frequently, fruits. Small animal production (hens, rabbits,
turkeys, honeybees, etc.) or shing ponds may be present too.
Soil-related pests are inevitable (such as moles, snails, nematodes and
soil-borne plant pathogens), paving the way for possible utilization of
PPPs (Zhang et al., 2013). Operators of these UA initiatives are
gardening enthusiasts and amateurs (Teuber et al., 2019), workers
enlisted through social programmes (Horst et al., 2017), and profes-
sional farmers. Many of these operators may not be specialized workers
and have not received specic training, especially in allotments and
community greens where the production is not meant for the market but
for self-consumption.
Apart from their common traits, these UA initiative environments
may be protected or unprotected (conditioned or nonconditioned
ground-based types, according to Goldstein et al., 2016) and may
receive solid and liquid waste (especially where freshwater is scarce).
Their technological intensiveness may vary. For soil-based systems, the
main risks are represented by the plant uptake of PTEs (Antisari et al.,
2015; Bidar et al., 2020; Pennisi et al., 2016). As well documented in the
literature, urban and peri-urban soil can be contaminated with several
hazardous chemicals due to human activities (Yuan et al., 2021; Zheng
et al., 2014). A full preliminary soil characterization would be advisable
in soil-exposed UA, especially in areas where historical records of land
use are not available from local authorities.
Soilless systems, on the other hand, are the norm for vertical farms
and terrace gardens (which use inert substrates such as peat or perlite),
hydroponics (which use a liquid nutrient solution), aeroponics (which
use a vaporised nutrient solution) and PFALs in general. Most soilless UA
systems are also enclosed in protected environments (conditioned
types), but this is not always the case. As their technological level is
generally higher with respect to soil-exposed systems, the control over
production factors is higher, and their operators tend to be more
specialized or better trained, resulting in reduced risks.
The chemical risks connected to the use of contaminated soil are
negligible in soilless systems, provided that the articial medium is
controlled or comes from controlled sources (e.g., commercial peat). On
the other hand, the risk for excessive nitrate uptake is higher in these
systems with respect to uptake from soil-based ones, as reported in
Table 3. In the papers reviewed, most nitrate assessments were con-
ducted in soilless systems or aquaponics (Nozzi et al., 2018;
erez-Urrestarazu et al., 2019).
3.2.2. Air exposure: unprotected vs protected environments
The addition of a physical shelter around crops allows for the
modication of the growing environment, offering the advantage of
enhancing crop productivity. Moreover, the presence of a physical
barrier also has relevant implications for food safety. From the view-
point of food risk assessment, there is a substantial difference between
air-exposed, unprotected UA systems and protected environments
(nonconditioned and conditioned types, respectively, according to
Goldstein and colleagues).
Table 3
Number of research papers per different hazard category and time period, categorized by ve UA production contexts and local market assessments.
Hazard category assessed Period Soil-based urban and
peri-urban greens
Soilless UA
Waste assimilating and
experimental UA plants
Processing and
food industry
Local market
Foodborne pathogens and
<2001 4 1 0 5 18 3
20012010 5 7 0 5 3 0
20112020 2 29 6 7 24 1
Heavy metals and PTEs <2001 11 5 1 2 0 5
20012010 14 6 3 3 1 0
20112020 23 9 2 7 2 0
PPP residues <2001 3 2 0 0 0 0
20012010 2 3 0 0 1 0
20112020 3 5 0 0 2 2
Nitrate and nitrite <2001 1 3 0 0 1 1
20012010 1 3 0 1 0 0
20112020 1 9 5 0 1 1
Microfauna and pluricellular
<2001 1 0 0 1 1 0
20012010 3 1 0 4 0 0
20112020 0 0 0 0 0 0
POPs <2001 3 1 0 0 0 0
20012010 2 0 0 0 0 0
20112020 2 2 0 1 0 0
Xenobiotics and
<2001 0 0 0 1 0 0
20012010 0 0 0 0 0 0
20112020 2 1 0 1 0 0
Toxins <2001 0 0 0 0 1 0
20012010 0 0 0 0 0 0
20112020 1 0 0 0 0 0
Hazardous materials <2001 0 0 0 0 0 0
20012010 0 0 0 0 0 0
20112020 0 0 0 1 0 0
PTEs: Potentially toxic elements: PPP: plant protection products; PoPs: persistent organic pollutants.
E. Buscaroli et al.
Food Control 126 (2021) 108085
Rooftop and terrace gardens, allotment gardens and open-air sky
farms are a few examples of unprotected UA systems (Germer et al.,
2011; Orsini et al., 2014; Orsini et al., 2020). These systems may be part
of municipal beautication or revaluation projects, as they can also
improve the appearance of a neighbourhood (similar to rooftop terraces
and gardens). Vegetables exposed to urban air can be contaminated by
hazardous compounds through precipitation, wet deposition (fog and
smog) and dry deposition (particulate matter). PTEs such as lead, cad-
mium, copper, zinc, and mercury (Amato-Lourenço et al., 2016; von
Hoffen & S¨
aumel, 2014; S¨
aumel et al., 2012) and even more hazardous
POPs in particularly contaminated areas (Amodio et al., 2009; Polder
et al., 2016) can end up in edible parts of vegetables. Moreover, pests
such as insects, volatiles and rodents can more easily endanger crops,
incentivizing the use of PPPs.
In contrast, protected environment systems (conditioned types) are
typically conned inside buildings, greenhouses, or opaque structures
(Gould & Caplow, 2012). They can have different degrees of environ-
mental control, starting from ground-based greenhouses to more
advanced soilless PFALs with automated climate, irrigation, and
nutrient controls (G´
omez et al., 2019; Orsini et al., 2020). Thus, these
systems are insulated from the urban environment to a certain degree
and rarely experience the aforementioned risks. Other risks, as well as
risks due to growing control failures or mismanagement, can still be
present if not properly addressed with GAP (Ferentinos & Albright,
3.2.3. Waste assimilation: aquaponics and other experimental systems
The use of by-products and wastes (especially human or animal
excreta) has always played a crucial role in agriculture, and this is also
the case for UA. In fact, UA has great potential for the in situ assimilation
of solid and liquid wastes, transforming them into nutrient-rich sub-
strates through the action of microbiota and plant enzymes (Kawa-
mura-Aoyama et al., 2014). This scenario is clearly the case for
water-scarce countries in the global south, in which the use of greywater
for crop fertigation in extensive peri-urban farms is crucial for water
management and savings (Abubakari et al., 2011; Asafu-Adjaye, 2012;
Keraita et al., 2007a; Menyuka et al., 2020). Modern UA techniques
combine food production with waste transformation, such as aquaponics
(Enduta et al., 2011; Magwaza et al., 2020; Rufí-Salís et al., 2020; Yep &
Zheng, 2019).
Aquaponics and similar waste-assimilating UA systems exploit the
joint ability of plants and microbiota to remove or degrade nutrients
from growing media (Su et al., 2020). In the case of aquaponics,
wastewater from an aquaculture system is used as a nutrient solution for
plants. After nutrient abatement and other additional treatments, spe-
cically, in the case of recirculating aquaponic systems (RAS), the water
is generally recirculated into sh tanks multiple times, closing the cycle.
Waste material from faecal matter can harbour helminths and human
pathogens (bacteria, viruses, and protozoa), potentially causing food-
borne diseases and adverse health effects (Bartelme et al., 2019; Jeong
et al., 2016). Moreover, human or animal excrement can contain several
persistent pharmaceuticals if excreted unaltered from target organisms
(Herklotz et al., 2010; Kinney et al., 2006). Several antibiotics
commonly used in human therapy or animal husbandry have been
shown to select antimicrobial resistant strains of bacteria in the envi-
ronment (Finley et al., 2013; Manaia, 2017; Martinez, 2009), resulting
in dangerous sanitary risks for UA operators and consumers, especially
in recirculating systems (Li et al., 2019). Depending on the source of the
waste administered in a UA system, many other contaminants could be
present, such as PTEs or POPs (Chaney et al., 1996; Khan et al., 2008;
a et al., 2013). Finally, excess nutrients should also be consid-
ered, as many leafy vegetables have the tendency to accumulate high
concentrations of nitrate in edible parts (Hu et al., 2015; Nozzi et al.,
Apart from compliance with pertinent regulatory systems (Joly et al.,
2015), UA production systems using potentially hazardous inputs (e.g.,
aquaculture efuents, wastewater treatment plant sludge, contaminated
soil, and by-products from the food industry) should continuously
determine the potential health risks of their produce through food safety
analyses and the adoption of advanced quality control systems. Water
and nutrient solution quality parameters should continuously be moni-
tored (e.g., implementing sensors for water quality parameters). The
presence of pathogens or hazardous chemicals (contaminants and/or
pharmaceuticals) should frequently be assessed and possibly reduced,
implementing adequate techniques (e.g., stabilization of immature
compost, water ozonation or UV treatment). Final products should be
analysed as well.
3.2.4. Good practices and management of risk in UA initiatives
Compliance with GMP and GAP, considering the specics of UA
production systems through preliminary risk assessments, should guar-
antee that fresh produce in UA meets adequate quality and safety levels
up to harvest. Presumably, respect for good practices and quality man-
agement systems would also ensure higher food quality levels in sub-
sequent processes (harvest, sanitation, packaging, distribution, etc.) as is
the case for traditional agricultural products. Food safety management
practices, such as hazard analysis and critical control points (HACCP)
(Wallace, 2014, pp. 226239) in addition to related management stan-
dards such as the UNI EN ISO 22000 family (International Organization
for Standardization [ISO], 2018)), remain valid for UA initiatives and
3.3. Focus on food safety: integration with CRFS assessment indicators
The ofcial indicator framework proposed by the FAO, RUAF and
Wilfrid Laurier University for the CRFS assessment and evaluation is a
powerful tool for policymakers (Blay-Palmer et al., 2018; Carey &
Dubbeling, 2017). Its holistic approach is useful for a rst assessment of
CRFS functionality and its adherence to given multilevel policy goals (e.
g., environmental, social or economic sustainability). Here, the different
food system components (namely, production, processing, distribution,
retail, and consumption) were evaluated through six different sustain-
ability macro-targets, consisting of different sets of indicators. These
indicators were calculated using data collected through research (typi-
cally surveys) or existing databases. The 210 indicators proposed by the
FAO, RUAF and Wilfrid Laurier University are clearly meant for evalu-
ating multiple aspects of a local food system as a whole and generally
address aggregated data. Food safety is not an objective per se, but it is an
impact area among the macro-policy target Social sustainability and eq-
uity (improve of health and well-being). Thus, FAO/RUAF food safety
indicators are limited, do not take into account single initiatives or
businesses, and tend to have general character, such as Presence of food
safety legislation [] or Number of food safety incidents [] (FAO, RUAF,
and Wilfrid Laurier University 2018b, p 26).
Nevertheless, the ofcial CRFS assessment would not be incompat-
ible per se with more detailed investigations, such as business inventories
or catalogues. A CRFS assessment could include a detailed assessment
(relevant to research, policy or management) of the food safety perfor-
mances of selected UA initiatives and businesses. Such detailed analysis
or monitoring could be implemented based on the most pertinent risk
assessment and rely on food analyses. Thus, in this section, an opera-
tional framework was proposed for the development of a safety assess-
ment of UA initiatives compatible with the ofcial CRFS framework and
based on relevant research on hazards connected to UA.
Through the subsequent proposed framework, it is possible to eval-
uate the food safety risk of a specic UA initiative. Additionally, if an
inventory of all UA initiatives is available and evaluations for all ini-
tiatives are performed, then this framework allows an estimation of the
overall food safety level of the whole CRFS and, in addition to the or-
dinary CRFS assessment, paves the way for further analyses based on
non-aggregated data.
E. Buscaroli et al.
Food Control 126 (2021) 108085
3.3.1. Food safety indicators
In Table 4, fteen detailed indicators for a food safety assessment of
UA initiatives are proposed. These were divided into three risk groups:
biological, chemical, and management risk. Consistent with the results
on hazard frequency described in section 3.1., each indicator has a score
range representing its weight. Biological risk indicators accounted for
approximately 33% of the risk, while chemical risk and management
risk indicators accounted for approximately 55% and 12% of the risk,
respectively. These three values were obtained as a sum of score ranges
from indicators of the same group divided by the total score range. The
higher weight of chemical risk was simply due to the presence of many
different hazards in the chemical risk category. Each indicator is
calculated based on one or more questions posed to UA initiative di-
rectors and should be validated through data, documentation, analyses,
and other possible valid information, as suggested in Table 4. The
scoring of each indicator was designed to intuitively suggest being
negative for high-risk circumstances. A benchmark indicator score value
for specic classes of UA initiatives could possibly be established after
adequate testing and data collection in further works.
3.3.2. Food safety index
A numerical score for each indicator is calculated following estab-
lished guidelines such as those proposed in Table 4. Then, a safety index
can be calculated as a sum of each indicator score by the following
- i is a given UA initiative.
- j is the indicator.
is the safety index of initiative i.
- M is the number of indicators (15).
- I
is the score of indicator j for UA initiative i.
The FSI score, using the proposed indicators, spans from +130 to
115. The maximum value represents the highest food safety level or a
very good risk management.
3.3.3. UA initiatives inventory and evaluation of CRFS global FSI for UA
In contrast to the CRFS framework approach, the proposed meth-
odology aims to calculate (at least for all UA initiatives) a general food
safety macro-indicator starting from a food safety evaluation and
assessment of single initiatives (bottom-up approach). To implement
this approach, it is necessary to build an inventory of UA food-producing
initiatives in the CRFS, gathering data available in the territory. Some
criteria needed for the inventory are suggested below.
The inventory should include any active initiative from allotment
gardens to experimental vertical farms in a yearly timeframe. Thus,
contiguous allotment gardens should be considered as a single UA
initiative. For each initiative, data need to be gathered concerning a)
identication, b) production types based on identiable and well-
recognized taxonomy systems for UA initiatives (Goldstein et al.,
2016), c) production volumes (e.g., estimated gross production and
value), d) destination of products (e.g., market segments or other des-
tinations), and e) conductor, manager, or other representative of the
Since the food safety assessment for UA initiatives suggested in this
review is meant for plant-producing initiatives, only these initiatives
should be included. Animal urban farms, food processors, food distrib-
utors and hospitality/catering initiatives (HORECA) should be treated
separately (optimally, with different dedicated indicators for their
assessment). Ideally, each initiative in the inventory should be exam-
ined, but in case this is not feasible, a representative sample may be
Table 4
Synoptic table of possible indicators for food business safety assessment.
Risk area Indicator (minimum and
maximum score value)
Data source Survey question
(indicator score
1 Implementation of
biological control
(15; +35)
Business survey,
periodic safety
controls and
analyses on
nal produce)
Are pathogens
and other
performed on
nal products?
Which one?
selection, +3
per selection,
up to +15, 5 if
no options are
If so, how
(from 0 to +10)
How many non-
compliances are
found (by you
or by external
entities) per
volume of
(from +10 to
2 [Unlikelihood of]
food exposed to
uncontrolled fauna
(e.g., rodents,
pigeons) and/or
zoonosis (5; +5)
Business survey,
periodic safety
controls (traps)
Is the presence
of pests and/or
controlled? (+5
if afrmative)
How frequently
pests and/or
animals are
found in the
(from 0 to 5)
3 [Unlikelihood of]
food exposed, even
occasionally, to
growing media
biological risk (5;
Business survey,
periodic safety
controls and
analyses (raw
material and
supplies quality
Is any waste
used in the
production of
origin, even
(5 if
Is this material
controlled from
an external
provider or
within your
(from 0 to +5)
4 [Unlikelihood of]
food biologically
altered during
(spoilage or poor
preservation) (5;
survey, periodic
quality control
(shelf life)
How are the
sanitized after
harvest? (from
0 to +5)
Is the shelf life
(from 5 to 0)
5 [Unlikelihood of]
food exposed to
waste harbouring
chemical risk (10;
Business survey,
periodic safety
controls and
analyses (PTEs
and other
Is any kind of
waste used in
(5 if
Is natural soil
used in
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E. Buscaroli et al.
Food Control 126 (2021) 108085
Table 4 (continued )
Risk area Indicator (minimum and
maximum score value)
Data source Survey question
(indicator score
(5 if
Is the substrate
material used
for growing
(natural or
articial) fully
(from 0 to +10)
6 [Unlikelihood of]
food exposed to
particulate, smog
deposition (10; 0)
Business survey,
service (air
Is the growing
isolated from
the external
(5 if negative)
If that is not the
case (negative
answer to
question), is
quality of air
satisfactory in
your area,
according to
services? (+5 if
afrmative, 0 if
negative, 5 if
answer is no
data available)
If the answer
from the
question is no
data available,
how clean
would you
judge the air to
be in your area?
(from 0 to +5)
7 [Unlikelihood of]
food exposed to
PPP and other
(25; +10)
Business survey,
periodic safety
controls and
analyses (PPP)
Are any PPP
used during the
cycles? (5 if
If so, which
ones are
regularly used?
(2 for each
active principle
indicated, up to
How frequently
are PPP
residues on nal
(from 0 to +10)
How many non-
compliances are
found (by you
or by external
entities) per
volume of
(from 0 to 10)
8 [Unlikelihood of]
food exposed to
chemicals such as
additives, and
Business survey,
periodic safety
controls and
analyses (GMP
and GAP)
Which other
chemicals are
used in the
and how likely
Table 4 (continued )
Risk area Indicator (minimum and
maximum score value)
Data source Survey question
(indicator score
fertilizers (10;
are they to be
found in nal
products? (from
10 to +5)
9 [Unlikelihood of]
food accumulating
(e.g., by
phytoextraction or
elements or
nutrients (such as
PTEs or nitrate)
(10; +20)
Business survey,
periodic safety
controls and
analyses (PTEs,
Which chemical
analyses on
nal products
are periodically
performed? (+2
per PTE,
maximum +10;
+5 for nitrate in
(from +1 to +5)
How many non-
actions are
found (by you
or by external
entities) per
volume of
(from 0 to 10)
10 [Unlikelihood of]
food exposed to
undesired or
materials and
substances such as
micro-plastics and
asbestos. (10;
Business survey,
periodic safety
controls and
Are these
likely to be
found in nal
selection, from
10 to +5)
11 [Unlikelihood of]
food contaminated
by toxins (5; +5)
Business survey,
periodic safety
controls and
Are toxins
controlled in
nal products?
How frequent
are non-
actions per
volume of
(from +5 to 5,
0 if not
12 [Prevention of]
food adulteration,
tampering and
accidents (5; 0)
Business survey To your
have any
adulteration or
occurred? How
(from 0 to 3)
How frequently
does equipment
(from 0 to 2)
13 High food safety
education level of
business operators
(0; +5)
Business survey
(operators and
How would you
judge the
training of your
and employees?
(from 0 to +3)
How much do
you invest in
training? (from
0 to +2)
14 Implementation of
food quality
Business survey Have you
adopted any
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E. Buscaroli et al.
Food Control 126 (2021) 108085
dened. In this study, a global FSI is calculated as a weighted mean of all
the safety indexes (in this context, the weight factor would be repre-
sented by the estimated gross annual production of each initiative).
is the CRFS global food safety index for UA initiatives and
- P
is the total production (or market) volume of all the considered
UA initiatives within the CRFS.
- i is a given UA initiative.
- N is the number of all UA initiatives considered.
- P
is the production (or market) share of initiative i.
is calculated by formula (2).
Many different data analyses can be performed with this approach (e.
g., the relationship between UA types and their FSI in a given CRFS, the
identication of specic risks through the global study of a single indi-
cator in a CRFS, and the relationship between economic performances of
UA initiatives and their FSI in a given CRFS).
For example, data analysis might be performed through a scatter
plot. Each initiative i could be plotted as:
is calculated by formula (2).
- i is a given UA initiative.
- FSI is the sample mean of the food safety indexes for the N initiatives.
- P
is the production (or market) share of initiative i.
- P is the sample mean of production or market shares for the N
In this context, points (initiatives) in the upper-right quadrant would
represent mature businesses with better-than-average risk control
practices (as shown in Fig. 3). Bottom-right quadrant points would be
initiatives with better-than-average risk with potential for market
expansion. Upper-left quadrant points would be larger-than-average
businesses with lower-than-average risk management. Finally, bottom-
left points would represent smaller-than average initiatives with
lower-than-average food safety indexes.
4. Conclusions
In this work, the most relevant scientic papers addressing food
safety assessments for UA techniques were reviewed to establish a
framework for the evaluation of food safety in UA initiatives.
Among the 217 selected research papers, 120 addressed human
pathogens either exclusively or not exclusively. These results indicated
the use of excreta-derived nutrient sources (implicit, as in the case of
aquaponics, or facultative, as in the case of greywater fertigation) or
fresh produce sanitation failures as a source of risk. Approximately 94
papers addressed PTEs, indicating air pollution exposure or contami-
nated substrates as risk sources. Less frequent, but not of lesser impor-
tance, other hazards considered in UA food safety assessments were
nitrate excess (28 papers, mostly in recirculating systems) and pesticide
residues (23 papers). The hazards connected with the use of solid or
liquid wastes were POPs (11 papers), organic xenobiotics and pharma-
ceuticals (5 papers) and hazardous materials (1 paper). Toxins were
rarely assessed (2 papers).
Three main criteria determining the risk level of UA initiatives were
identied: a) use of soil rather than inert substrate/media, b) exposition
of crops to atmospheric deposition, and 3) use of solid or liquid wastes in
the growing cycle.
Therefore, an operational framework for a qualitative-quantitative
assessment of food safety levels in UA initiatives was developed. The
proposed approach is based on the CRFS assessment indicator frame-
work and is meant to contribute to or benet from it. The methodology
integrates the use of business surveys and food analyses (where avail-
able) to evaluate food safety risks through specic indicators. A food
safety index can then be calculated for each initiative by averaging the
indicator scores. Moreover, a global UA food safety index may be
derived within the CRFS by weighing each UA initiative index according
Table 4 (continued )
Risk area Indicator (minimum and
maximum score value)
Data source Survey question
(indicator score
scheduled controls,
and management
of non-compliance
(0; +15)
program other
than those
prescribed by
law? Which
one? (from 0 to
Have you
obtained any
Which ones?
(from 0 to +5)
Have you
adopted any
quality policy
program other
than those
prescribed by
law? Can you
describe it?
(from 0 to +5)
15 [Rareness of]
safety control and
non-compliance (0;
Periodic safety
control (if
Could you
describe your
course of action
in this
scenario? (a
scenario is
illustrated, in
which non-
compliance is
from 0 to +5)
Fig. 3. Reference scatter plot for analysis between FSI and business maturity.
E. Buscaroli et al.
Food Control 126 (2021) 108085
to their production share. Apart from data handling and simplicity of
implementation, another advantage lies in the possibility of comparing
risks among very different kinds of UA initiatives. Instead, some limits
are due to the falsiability of survey answers (which could be corrected
by validating the answers with biological or chemical analyses); in
addition, some limits occur because the denition of UA is not strict
(sometimes even arbitrary), and thus. what is considered UA may vary in
different CRFSs. This proposed framework supports decision-making
and enables stakeholders from an initiative to the policy-making level
to improve food safety control in a UA. This framework thereby con-
tributes to protecting and improving the health and well-being of future
consumers in a CRFS. A rigorous and homogeneous scoring system for
each food safety indicator must still be implemented and validated in
further and applied studies to fully utilize the potential of this frame-
work, enabling it to benet the public sector, policy makers and
The research leading to this publication has received funding from
the European Unions Horizon 2020 research and innovation pro-
gramme under grant agreement No 862663. The publication reects the
authorsviews. The Research Executive Agency (REA) is not liable for
any use that may be made of the information contained therein. Giu-
seppe Calore, Giampaolo Nitti and Youssef Rouphael are gratefully
acknowledged for their contribution to literature search.
Appendix A. Supplementary data
Supplementary data to this article can be found online at https://doi.
Author contribution statement
E. Buscaroli: conceptualization, investigation, data curation, writing
original draft, writing review & editing, supervision.
I. Braschi: conceptualization, writing review & editing, supervi-
sion, project administration.
C. Cirillo: investigation, writing review & editing.
A. Fargue-Leli`
evre: investigation, writing review & editing.
G. C. Modarelli: investigation, data curation, writing review &
G. Pennisi: writing review & editing, visualization.
I. Righini: investigation, writing review & editing.
K. Specht: investigation, writing review & editing.
F. Orsini: conceptualization, writing review & editing, supervision,
project administration, funding acquisition.
Declaration of competing interest statement
Authors declare no conicts of interest.
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... In the European Union, excessive concentration of some PTEs (such as Cu and Pb) in food edible parts are considered a cause of food noncompliance, and regulation set a maximum amount tolerated within the inner market (European Commission 2006. Nevertheless, lower maximum PTEs concentration may be set by member states or within certain market segments (Buscaroli et al. 2021). The use of Cu salts as sulfates, commonly known as Bordeaux mixture, is permitted with some limitations on several crops (including melon) in integrated pest management (European Parliament 2009) and in organic crop production. ...
Full-text available
The extent to which different agricultural strategies may affect the uptake of potentially toxic elements (PTEs) by cropped plants is not entirely understood at a field scale. This study addresses the effect of seasonality, Trichoderma inoculation alone, or combined with different applications of commercial-grade clinoptilolite (i.e., foliar action, fertigation, and pellet) on the PTE content of early-and late-ripening cultivars of Cucumis melo L. Two similar field experiments were performed in spring and summer. For each cultivar/treatment combination, the input of PTEs [namely, chromium (Cr), copper (Cu), and lead (Pb)] into the soil-crop system through irrigation water, fertilizers, pesticides, and treatment products (i.e., Trichoderma and cli-noptilolite products), as well as the PTE content of melon stem, leaves, and fruit, were measured through inductively coupled plasma-optic emission spectrometry (ICP-OES). Neither Trichoderma alone nor with clinoptilolite had a visible effect on PTE uptake by plants, whereas early season cultivation was strongly associated with reduced uptake of Cu and Pb. The high correlation of Cu and Pb content with stem and leaf calcium (Ca) content (used as a proxy for different transpiration rates under different growing seasons) indicated a possible uptake of these metals through Ca nonselective cation channels as a defense against drought stress. Reduced Cu and Pb concentrations were found in early-ripening fruit cultivated in spring. Concerning Cu and Pb risk management, in case of significant contamination in Mediterranean cal-careous soils, early-ripening Cucumis melo L. cultivars are suggested instead of late-ripening ones.
... While these additional risks are minimal for small-scale UA, the practice of commercial-scale UA using soil-base farming will bring the same risks as agro-industrial farms do on their surrounding environment. Buscaroli et al. (2021) identified three cases where plant protection products (PPP) used in UA may cause harm to its environment, these are, "1) disregard for precautionary limitations, 2) misuse of authorized active substances, and c) use of unauthorized substances." While these are preventable, the lack of supervision and regulation on backyard UA may suggest that the risks are still present albeit minimal. ...
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It has been a challenge to support the expansion of urban agriculture (UA) in cities due to its poor economic profitability. However, it is also hard to deny the increasing benefits of UA in improving the socio-environmental dimension of cities. Hence, in this review, different aspects of UA were examined to highlight its value beyond profitability such as social, health and well-being, disaster risk reduction, and environmental perspectives. A case study and relevant policies were analyzed to determine how policy makers can bridge the gap between current and future UA practices and sustainable development. Bridging these policy gaps can help the UA sector to sustainably grow and become successfully integrated in cities. Moreover, advancements in UA technologies and plant biotechnology were presented as potential solutions in increasing the future profitability of commercial UA. Consequently, as new UA-related technologies evolve, the multidisciplinary nature of UA and its changing identity from agriculture to digital technology, similarly require adaptive policies. These policies should maximize the potential of UA in contributing to resiliency and sustainability and incentivize the organic integration of UA in cities, while equally serving social justice.
... The spread of UA can be further constrained by the inherent space restrictions, real estate speculation and land tenure problems (Suchá et al., 2020). Environmental pollution, caused mainly by internal combustion engines using fossil fuels, can be a serious threat since it can directly pollute food, especially those vegetables that are consumed raw, in addition to contaminating water bodies and the urban soil itself (Buscaroli et al., 2021). UA is expanding worldwide today because urban policies recognize it as green infrastructure, which can boost sustainable urban development, and as a part of urban food systems (Caputo et al., 2021;Tapia et al., 2021). ...
Urban agriculture (UA) initiatives have been increasing in recent years as a nature-based solution for achieving many of the 2030 UN Sustainable Development Goals. However, climate change is expected to have effects on rainfall patterns, which are likely to impact urban food production. The main aim of this paper is to evaluate how issues related to water sources for UA have been addressed in the scientific literature from two different socio-economic and environmental realities, Brazil and Italy. The method involved a systematic literature review, considering the PRISMA guidelines. The Web of Science database and papers' reference lists were used for retrieving original articles, published in 2000-2020 interval, indexed on scientific databases, and containing data on the typology and quality of water sources used in UA studies. After applying the eligibility criteria, 191 papers were selected – Brazil (108) and Italy (83). The last five years have seen an intensification of studies into issues involving water. Tap water has been identified as an important source of irrigation water for UA, if not the main one. No studies were found that addressed the impact of UA on public water supply systems. The findings point towards more sustainable practices involving the reuse of water and adaptive practices towards water security. We identified that innovative production systems like container farming, aquaponics and indoor agriculture, as well as cultivation of fruit trees, wild edible plants and varieties with low water requirements can represent water-saving options.
... It is likely to be more com-plicated to provide sufficient food for the fast-growing population using traditional agriculture in future, therefore soil-less cultivation is the right substitute technology to adapt effectively ( Lakhiar et al., 2018 ). There has also been a lot of attention given to urban agriculture among researchers, scientists and the general public ( Buscaroli et al., 2021 ) which calls for more attention into hydroponics as it is considered an urban farming technology. Based on the impasse of challenges presented by conventional farming practices, urbanization and the increasing urban population as well as the ability of hydroponics to tackle these challenges, this study focused on examining the status and perception of soilless farming (hydroponics) in Central Uganda and Northern Tanzania as an alternative sustainable cropping system to increasing food security and agdribusiness opportunities around urbanand peri-urban areas. ...
East Africa has the potential to boost its urban food production through adoption of soilless farming techniques. The case study assessed the benefits and drawbacks allied with hydroponic vegetable farming among urban and peri-urban farms in Northern Tanzania and Central Uganda. Snowball sampling was used to identify 150 vegetable farms/farmers through urban farmers’ groups and recommendations from the agricultural organizations from Uganda and Tanzania. Based on the complexity and distinctiveness of this farming system, only 51 individuals and farms practicing hydroponics for vegetable production took part in responding to the semi-structured Google form questionnaire that was issued through social media platforms, face to face interviews and farm visits. Results from the study showed that hydroponics is a climate smart farming system (n=13, 26%), produces high yields within limited space (n=24, 48%), has no soil borne pests and diseases (n=10, 20%) and gives the farmer the chance to control environmental conditions (n=2, 4%). On the contrary, over 50% of the respondents reported high investment costs (n=16, 31%) and lack of adequate knowledge on hydroponics among other farmers (n=11, 22%) as the main limitations of the technology. Based on farmers’ recommendations, hydroponics has potential to increase food security within urban areas if more efforts are put in sensitization about the farming system and research into ways to reduce the high costs associated with the technology.
... High levels of Cu and Zn can accumulate in plants as they are actively assimilated as essential micronutrients (Clemens et al. 2002). Similarly, nonessential elements such as Pb, As, and Cd can be uptaken by the crops root system and be translocated into edible tissues (Lasat 2002 Among the possible food safety risks, concentration of PTEs into crops below the allowed maximum limits, and thus not causing adverse health effects (Buscaroli et al. 2021), may represent a cause of food quality non-compliance to stricter market demands. This is the case of PTE such as copper. ...
Full-text available
Aim The extent at which different agricultural strategies may affect the uptake of potentially toxic elements (PTEs) by cropped plants is not completely understood at a field scale. This study dealt with the effect of seasonality, Trichoderma inoculation alone or combined to different applications of commercial grade clinoptilolite (i.e., foliar action, fertigation, and pellet) on the PTEs content of early- and late-ripening cultivars Cucumis Melo L. Methods Two similar field experiments were performed in spring and summer. For each cultivar/treatment combination, the input of PTEs (namely, Cr, Cu, and Pb) to the soil-crop system through irrigation water, fertilizers, pesticides, and treatment products (i.e., Trichoderma and clinoptilolite products), as well as the PTE content of melon stem, leaves and fruit, were assessed through Inductively Coupled Plasma - Optic Emission Spectrometry. Results Neither Trichoderma alone nor associated with clinoptilolite had visible effect on PTEs uptake by plants, while early season cultivation was strongly associated with lower uptake of Cu and Pb. The high correlation of Cu and Pb content with Ca content in stem and leaves, used as a proxy for different transpiration rates under different growing seasons, indicated a possible uptake of these metals through Ca-nonselective cation channels as a drought stress defence. Lower Cu and Pb concentration were found in early-ripening melon fruit cultivated in spring. Conclusions To the scope of Cu and Pb risk management, in case of significant contamination in Mediterranean calcareous soils, the use of early-ripening Cucumis melo L. cultivars in place of late-ripening ones is suggested.
... For instance, Lin et al (Lin et al. 2021) (Geueke et al. 2018), and chemical food safety hazards of sausages (Halagarda et al. 2018). Furthermore, studies on food safety and agriculture include but are not limited to chemical and biological risks in urban agriculture (Buscaroli et al. 2021), biosensors for sustainable agriculture and food safety (Griesche and Baeumner 2020), agricultural soil contamination, and the impact on food safety (Wang et al. 2019b). In addition, the Materials Science category was also on the top list, which indicated that materials are also important research directions in environment and food safety. ...
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Environment protection and food safety are two critical issues in the world. In this review, a novel approach which integrates statistical study and subjective discussion was adopted to review recent advances on environment and food safety. Firstly, a scientometric-based statistical study was conducted based on 4904 publications collected from the Web of Science Core Collection database. It was found that the research on environment and food safety was growing steadily from 2001 to 2020. Interestingly, the statistical analysis of most-cited papers, titles, abstracts, keywords, and research areas revealed that the research on environment and food safety was diverse and multidisciplinary. In addition to the scientometric study, strategies to protect environment and ensure food safety were critically discussed, followed by a discussion on the emerging research topics, including emerging contaminates (e.g., microplastics), rapid detection of contaminants (e.g., biosensors), and environment friendly food packaging materials (e.g., biodegradable polymers). Finally, current challenges and future research directions were proposed.
The accumulation of cadmium (Cd) in grains and edible parts of crops poses a risk to human health. Because rice is the staple food of more than half of the world population, reducing Cd uptake by rice is critical for food safety. HydroPotash (HYP), an innovative potassium fertilizer produced with a hydrothermal process, has the characteristics of immobilizing heavy metals and potential use for remediating Cd-contaminated soils. The objective of this study was to evaluate the HYP as a soil amendment to immobilize Cd in acidic soils and to reduce the accumulation of Cd in rice tissues. The experiment was performed in a greenhouse with a Cecil sandy loam soil (pH 5.3 and spiked with 3 mg Cd kg⁻¹) under either flooding conditions (water level at 4 cm above the soil surface) or at field capacity. Two hydrothermal materials (HYP-1 and HYP-2) were compared with K-feldspar + Ca(OH)2 (the raw material used for producing HYP), Ca(OH)2, zeolite, and a control (without amendment). After 30 days of soil incubation, HydroPotashs, the raw material, and Ca(OH)2 increased both soil solution pH and electrical conductivity. These materials also decreased soluble Cd concentration (up to 99.7%) compared with the control (p < 0.05). After 145 days, regardless of the materials applied, plant growth was favored (up to 35.8%) under the flooded regime. HydroPotash-1 was more effective for increasing dry biomass compared with other amendments under both water regimes. HydroPotashs reduced extractable Cd in soil, Cd content in plant biomass at tillering and maturing stage, and were efficient in minimizing Cd accumulation in rice grains.
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Latar belakang: Beras merupakan salah satu makanan pokok masyarakat Indonesia sehingga perlu adanya jaminan keamanan pada beras khususnya bebas dari cemaran logam berat. Penelitian ini bertujuan untuk mengetahui kandungan konsentrasi logam berat pada beras yang ditanam pada lahan pertanian di Kabupaten Bandung dan menganalisis risiko kesehatan masyarakat yang mengkonsumsi beras tersebut.Metode: penentuan lokasi pengambilan contoh dilakukan dengan metode purposive sampling pada lahan pertanian yang siap panen di beberapa kecamatan di Kabupaten Bandung dengan jumlah contoh beras sebanyak 26 sampel. Analisis logam berat yang dilakukan adalah analisis logam berat Pb, Cd, Cr, Ni, Co, Cu dan Zn dengan ekstrak HNO3:HClO4 dan diukur menggunakan Atomic Absorbption Spectrophotometer (AAS). Analisis probabilistik penilaian risiko kesehatan masyarakat dilakukan dengan menganalisis nilai estimated daily intake (EDI), estimated weekly intake (EWI), risiko non-karsinogenik dan risiko karsinogenik. Hasil: semua contoh beras mengandung logam berat Cr, Co, Cu dan Zn dengan nilai konsentrasi berturut-turut berkisar antara 0.64-2.28 mgkg-1, 1.18-2.66 mgkg-1, 0.64-3.47 mgkg-1 dan 5.44-8.69 mgkg-1. Konsentrasi logam Cu pada contoh beras yang diambil pada lahan pertanian kawasan industri berbeda nyata dengan contoh beras di luar kawasan industri dengan nilai p sebesar 0.014. Risiko non-karsinogenik yang ditimbulkan jika mengkonsumsi beras dari lahan pertanian Kabupaten Bandung tidak mungkin untuk terjadi karena nilai hazard index (HI) menunjukkan angka <1, nilai HI secara berurutan yaitu anak-anak (0.0880)>remaja (0.0370)>dewasa (0.0259)>manula (0.0281) dan risiko karsinogenik juga menunjukkan nilai yang dapat ditoleransi karena di bawah 10-4 untuk semua katogeri umur (anak-anak, remaja, dewasa, manula) dengan nilai cancer risk (CR) berturut-turut sebesar 6.15x10-7, 6.72x10-7, 2.53x10-6 dan 2.74x10-6.Simpulan: beras yang dihasilkan dari lahan pertanian di Kabupaten Bandung aman untuk dikonsumsi oleh masyarakat karena risiko kesehatan yang ditimbulkan masih dapat ditoleransi ABSTRACTTitle: Heavy Metals and Probabilistic Risk Assessment Via Rice Consumption From Rice Fields in Upstream of The Citarum River Background: Rice is one of the staple foods of the Indonesian people, so it is necessary to guarantee the safety of rice, especially free from heavy metal contamination. This study aims to determine the concentration of heavy metals in rice grown on agricultural land in Bandung Regency and analyze the health risks of the people who consume the rice. Method: the determination of location of sampling was carried out by purposive sampling method on agricultural land that was ready for harvest in several sub-districts in Bandung Regency with a total of 26 samples of rice. Heavy metal analysis carried out was heavy metal analysis of Pb, Cd, Cr, Ni, Co, Cu and Zn with HNO3:HClO4 extract and measured using Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (AAS). Probabilistic analysis of public health risk assessment was carried out by analyzing the estimated daily intake (EDI), estimated weekly intake (EWI), non-carcinogenic risk and carcinogenic risk.Results: all rice samples contained Cr, Co, Cu and Zn metals with concentration values ranging from 0.64-2.28 mgkg-1, 1.18-2.66 mgkg-1, 0.64-3.47 mgkg-1 and 5.44-8.69 mgkg-1, respectively. The concentration of Cu metal in rice samples taken on agricultural land in industrial areas was significantly different from rice samples outside industrial areas with a p value of 0.01. The non-carcinogenic risk caused by consuming rice from agricultural land in Bandung Regency is unlikely to occur because the hazard index (HI) value shows the number <1, the HI values are children (0.0880)>adolescents (0.0370)>adults (0.0259 )> the elderly (0.0281) and the carcinogenic risk also shows a value that can be tolerated because it was below 10-4 for all age categories (children, adolescents, adults and the elderly) with a cancer risk (CR) value of 6.15x10-7, 6.72x10-7, 2.53x10-6 and 2.74x10-6.Conclution: Rice produced from agricultural land in Bandung Regency is safe for consumption by the community because the health risks caused are still tolerable.
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Celem rozważań jest scharakteryzowanie zjawiska rolnictwa miejskiego w perspektywie współczesnych wyzwań prawa rolnego oraz uzasadnienie potrzeby badań agrarystycznych dotyczących tego problemu prawnego. Punktem wyjścia są teoretyczne koncepcje Romana Budzinowskiego dotyczące przedmiotu i granic prawa rolnego jako gałęzi prawa. Rolnictwo miejskie stanowi złożone zjawisko występujące w różnych formach. Jego najważniejszą cechą wyróżniającą jest zintegrowanie z ekologiczno-społeczno-gospodarczym systemem miasta. Regulacja dotycząca rolnictwa miejskiego jest rozproszona i zróżnicowana. Tworzy jednak zespół norm, który można uznać za problem należący do prawa rolnego. Może on stanowić interesujący obszar badań prawników agrarystów, zwłaszcza jako egzemplifikacja współczesnych wyzwań i tendencji rozwojowych prawa rolnego.
The feasibility analysis of fluorescence hyperspectral imaging technology was studied for the detection of lead content in lettuce leaves. Further, Monte Carlo optimized wavelet transform stacked auto-encoders (WT-MC-SAE) was proposed for dimensionality reduction and depth feature extraction of fluorescence spectral data. The fluorescence hyperspectral images of 2800 lettuce leaf samples were selected and the whole lettuce leaf was used as the region of interest (ROI) to extract the fluorescence spectrum. Five different pre-processing algorithms were used to pre-process the original ROI spectral data including standard normalized variable (SNV), first derivative (1st Der), second derivative (2ndDer), third derivative (3rd Der) and fourth derivative (4th Der). Moreover, wavelet transform stacked auto-encoders (WT-SAE) and WT-MC-SAE were used for data dimensionality reduction, and support vector machine regression (SVR) was used for modeling analysis. Among them, 4th Der tends to be the most useful fluorescence spectral data for Pb content detection at 0.067∼1.400 mg/kg in lettuce leaves, with Rc² of 0.9802, RMSEC of 0.02321mg/kg, Rp² of 0.9467, RMSEP of 0.04017 mg/kg and RPD of 3.273, and model scale (the number of nodes in the input layer, hidden layer and output layer) was 407-314-286-121-76 under the fifth level of wavelet decomposition. Further studies showed that WT-MC-SAE realizes the depth feature extraction of the fluorescence spectrum, and it is of great significance to use fluorescence hyperspectral imaging to realize the quantitative detection of lead in lettuce leaves.
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In recent years, urban agriculture (UA) projects have bloomed throughout the world, finding large applications also in the developed economies of the so-called Global North. As compared to projects in developing countries, where research has mainly targeted the contribution to food security, UA in the Global North has a stronger multifunctional connotation, and results in multiple combinations of farming purposes and business models pursued. The present review paper explores the contribution and role that UA plays in cities from the Global North, defining its functionalities toward ecosystem services (ES) provisioning and analyzing the factors that hinders and promote its regional diffusion and uptake. The manuscript integrates a description of UA growing systems, as well opportunities for crop diversification in the urban environment, and a comprehensive classification of UA business models. The distinctive features in terms of business models, farming purposes and farm size are then applied over an inventory of 470 UA projects in the Global North, allowing for a characterization and comparative analysis of distribution frequency of the different project typologies.
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PurposeUrban soil contamination by heavy metals is one of the foremost challenges for urban soil quality, especially in the urban agriculture context. Urban gardening is a common practice in many industrialized and developing countries. How sources of soil contamination relate to inputs and influence the heavy metal content in soils, however, is not established yet.Materials and methodsThis study aims to assess the potential of pesticide applications (such as Bordeaux mixture) on soil quality. A set of 104 allotment gardens was selected in three cities in France, and topsoil was sampled and analyzed.Results and discussionThe four most abundant metals in urban vegetable garden topsoils were Zn, Pb, Cu, and Cr. The past and/or present industrial and urban activities are not the only cause of the metal contamination in urban vegetable garden soils. Gardens, where pesticides such as the Bordeaux mixture are being used showed significantly higher total Cu values in soils (78 mg kg−1 compared with 49 mg kg−1 for untreated gardens).Conclusions Even though the risk of metal contamination through vegetable consumption is usually considered low, we clearly identified indicators of anthropogenic Cd, Cu, Pb, and Zn pollution due to pesticides inputs. This link was particularly strong between the use of Bordeaux mixture and increases Cu levels.
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Plant Factories with Artificial Lighting (PFALs) are spreading due to the claimed efficiency in natural resources use, although at the cost of higher energy needs as compared with more traditional food systems. In recent years, research literature on PFAL technological features and management protocols has bloomed, mainly targeting innovation in lighting technologies, growing systems and environmental control units. To date, however, a comprehensive analysis of resource use and environmental impacts associated with PFAL systems is lacking. The present review paper aims at providing valuable insights on PFAL sustainability and compare their applications against current technologies and food systems with a special focus on resource use efficiency.
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Antibiotic resistance is a public health problem of growing concern. Animal manure application to soil is considered to be a main cause of the propagation and dissemination of antibiotic residues, antibiotic-resistant bacteria (ARB), and antibiotic resistance genes (ARGs) in the soil-water system. In recent decades, studies on the impact of antibiotic-contaminated manure on soil microbiomes have increased exponentially, in particular for taxonomical diversity and ARGs’ diffusion. Antibiotic resistance genes are often located on mobile genetic elements (MGEs). Horizontal transfer of MGEs toward a broad range of bacteria (pathogens and human commensals included) has been identified as the main cause for their persistence and dissemination. Chemical and bio-sanitizing treatments reduce the antibiotic load and ARB. Nevertheless, effects of these treatments on the persistence of resistance genes must be carefully considered. This review analyzed the most recent research on antibiotic and ARG environmental dissemination conveyed by livestock waste. Strategies to control ARG dissemination and antibiotic persistence were reviewed with the aim to identify methods for monitoring DNA transferability and environmental conditions promoting such diffusion.
In recent decades, the quantity of plastic waste products has increased tremendously. As plastic wastes are released into the environment, they exert harmful effects on biota and human health. In this work, a comprehensive review is offered to describe the physical and chemical characteristics of microplastics and nanoplastics in relation to their fate, microbial ecology, transport, and ecotoxic behavior. Present discussion is expanded further to cover the biochemical, physiological, and molecular mechanisms controlling the environmental fate, ecotoxicity, and human health hazards of micro- and nanoplastics. The risks of their exposure to microbes, plants, animals, and human health are also reviewed with special emphasis. Finally, a direction for future interdisciplinary research in materials and polymer science is also discussed to help control the pollution caused by micro- and nanoplastics.
A total of 713 research papers about field monitor experiments of heavy metals in farmland and urban soils in China, published from 2000 to 2019, were obtained. A meta-analysis was conducted to evaluate the level of China's heavy metal pollution in soils, mainly focusing on eight heavy metals. It was found that the average concentrations of cadmium (Cd), lead (Pb), zinc (Zn), copper (Cu), mercury (Hg), chromium (Cr), nickel (Ni), and arsenic (As) in China were 0.19, 30.74, 85.86, 25.81, 0.074, 67.37, 27.77 and 8.89 mg/kg, respectively. Compared with the background value (0.097 mg/kg), the Cd content showed a twofold (0.19 mg/kg) rise in farmland soils and a threefold (0.29 mg/kg) rise in urban soils. The decreasing order of the mean Igeo was Cd (1.77) > Pb (0.62) > Zn (0.60) > Cu (0.58) > Hg (0.57) > Cr (0.54) > Ni (0.47) > As (0.28). Nearly 33.54% and 44.65% of sites in farmland and urban soils were polluted with Cd. The average concentrations of eight heavy metals were not sensitive change in recent two decades in farmland and urban soils. The average Pn values for urban (2.52) and farmland (2.15) soils showed that heavy metal pollution in urban soils was more serious than that in farmland, and the middle Yangtze River regions, where industrial activity dominates, were the most polluted. The meta-analysis comprehensively evaluated the current pollution situation of soil heavy metal, and provided important basis for soil management and environment prevention in China.
This article reviews the scientific literature on local food from the consumer's perspective and analyses findings through the application of the Alphabet Theory-a newly developed theoretical framework for consumer behavior towards alternative food choices. As consumers' interest in local food has steadily increased in the past fifteen years, so has the number of research studies on consumers' attitudes and purchase behavior with regard to local food. A literature search was carried out on three online catalogues using the search terms taken into account. In all, the literature search returned 550 scientific articles. This paper provides an overview of 73 relevant publications, summarizes the main results, and identifies research gaps in the context of the Alphabet Theory. One major result was that, unlike organic food, local food is not perceived as expensive. Nevertheless, consumers are willing to pay a premium for local food. In mostly quantitative studies, consumer characteristics , attitudes, and purchase behaviors with regard to local food were assessed. Research gaps were identified in various areas: cross-national (cultural) comparisons, influence of different types of products (fresh vs. non-perishable, processed vs. non-processed, or plant vs. animal products), origin of foodstuffs used to produce local food as well as the influence of personal and social norms on the formation of attitudes towards local food. This contribution appears to be the first review of scientific articles from the field of local food consumption to present an overview on international research and to identify research gaps.