A survey to evaluate safety in protected crops in western Sicily
Protected crops in the Mediterranean area has reached advanced production systems, but they should solve environmental, energy and money problems. The greenhouse, in fact, is a system characterized by high energy inputs with a reduced environmental sustainability compared to extensive farming and intensive open field. In Sicily, the area dedicated to annual greenhouse cultivation is 8,200 ha with a total number of farms greater than 6,000; although the sector is of great importance in the Sicilian economy, issues as workplace, food and environmental safety are often overlooked. A survey was carried out with the aim of identifying the possibilities to improve environmental, work and food safety inside the greenhouses in Sicily. A questionnaire was distributed to a sample of farms to identify the critical points in the management of the above mentioned aspects. The survey to evaluate environmental safety was realized through a checklist considering various environmental aspects: energy resources, waste management, hazardous substances, water resources, impact of the roads, interactions with landscape and raw materials. The survey to evaluate work and food safety aimed at identifying the steps with major risk factors and the measures taken by the farms to mitigate or nullify the critical aspects. The results showed that the most critical issues in environmental safety concern the management of hazardous substances; with regard to work safety some critical points were found in risks assessment for workers' health and staff training; with regard to food safety critical points are those related both to staff training and products tracking and tracing.
Catania, P. and Vallone, M. 2017. A survey to evaluate safety in protected crops in western Sicily. Acta Hort. (ISHS) 1170:563-570
checklist, greenhouse, risk factor