This is a new blog about ethical issues that arise in growing, shipping, processing, selling, regulating, and eating food. Food is a hot issue these days — that is, people are talking (and writing) a lot about what kinds of foods we should be producing and eating. But as far as I can tell, there aren’t many blogs dedicated specifically to sorting through the full range of ethical issues (or normative issues more generally) in a non-partisan way. This blog aims to help fill that gap.
I do not foresee long analytical blog entries. Rather, I expect to post excerpts from recent news stories, along with very brief comments and an invitation for others to comment.
Among the sorts of topics I envision tackling in this blog:
- Is organic agriculture better, ethically, than ‘industrial’ agriculture?
- Should genetically modified foods be labelled?
- Is eating local better, ethically?
- Just how far should companies be expected to go in ensuring their food products are safe?
- Should fast-food companies and cola companies be held responsible for the obesity epidemic?
- Is reducing the ‘carbon footprint’ of food something best left to the market?
- Should health-related marketing claims about food nutrition be treated like claims about pharmaceuticals?
- Should the growing of certain kinds of crops be subject to government subsidies?
- Are there convincing reasons for or against human use of animals for food?
- Do we worry too much about food, or not enough?
By way of self-introduction, I’ll start by saying that I’m a philosopher (that’s what my Ph.D. is in, and that’s what I teach). But you’ll find that this blog strays into economics, public policy, and environmental science, as the need arises and as my expertise permits. I’ve published a bit on food ethics (in particular, about the labelling of GM foods.) I also recently taught an course on food ethics (which used James McWilliams’ book Just Food as its main textbook (along with a bunch of scholarly articles). I write two other blogs: The Business Ethics Blog (my main blog), and the Biotech Ethics Blog. I also love to cook and to eat, and I love good wine and good single-malt scotch.