in the last decade, numerous studies have analysed society's perception of eating safety and, in particular, the social representations of risk. most of these studies attempt to explain why the negative perception that people have of certain technological applications in food and, in general, of industrial food has increased just when food is abundant, the food chain is under greater control than ever before, life expectancy is at an all time high and food-related health problems, although they still exist, have less dramatic consequences than in previous ages. it is stressed, however, that today we know less or little about what we eat. although it is true that this negative assessment is partly due to the changes in the new ways of life and the fact that the activities of the population have become separated from food production or preparation, it is also partly due to the succession of food-related incidents and crises that have taken place in the european context and the important political, economic and social consequences that they have had. in this respect, the public debate that has arisen around genetically modified organisms and, particularly, transgenic food is a paradigmatic case that illustrates the cultural diversity in relation to their acceptability or repulse from the anthropological perspective.