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Morality and Ethics of Food
Transcript of Morality and Ethics of Food
Was the apple you had today grown locally, was it even grown in this country?
What is ethics? What is morality?
"the set of values or principles help by individuals or group"
“or moral philosophy, asks questions about the good life, about what is better and worse, about whether there is any objective right and wrong, and how we know it if there is.”
(MacKinnon, 2013: 4)
“standards of right and wise conduct whose authority in practical thought is determined by reason rather than custom” (Deigh, 2010: 10).
Ethics cover the following aspects of our lives:
How to live a good life.
How do you decide what is a good or bad life?
Our rights and responsibilities.
The language of right and wrong.
Moral decisions- what is good and bad?
to any situation
Crane and Matten (2008: 9)
Framework of moral philosophy
Source: Adapted from Honderich (1995) in Fennell (2008: 209)
“It is therefore, above all, a practical discipline. Its primary aim is to determine how one ought to live and what actions one ought to do in the conduct of one’s life.” (Deigh, 2010: 7).
What it means to be human? Ethical behaviour is based on the fact that authentic behaviour is self-determined; people have freedom of choice and responsibility for action.
Fennell (2006; 2008)
Where do we draw the line?
Food ethically sourced
Is the food sourced
Is it seasonal?
Basic ethical principles in food production:
• Autonomy: respecting the autonomous choices of other individuals including right to privacy.
• Justice – Fair distribution of benefits
• Non-maleficence – not inflicting harm on others intentionally
• Beneficence – Contribute to the welfare of others
Principles of ethical consumption:
Singer and Mason (2006: 270- 271)
...an inescapable part of modern life and ethical judgment underpins many of the decisions made within the society, including food.
Changing relationship with food
Are these rapid changes good for us?
The problem of feeding the world's poor is significantly a matter of politics and economics, but surely it is also an issue, which is central to the food ethics debate?
Limits to profitability
What are food businesses capable of doing to achieve higher profits?
Added- value means added profit
Is the food industry altruistically liberating us from the burden of practical involvement with food other than eating?
Are they a fulfillment of consumer desires or do they reflect the ambitions of food business leaders operating in a highly competitive marketplace, and what are their moral and ethical dimensions?
Would consumers suffer and would their happiness be less if supermarkets stocked only 20% of the current range of products?
What about consumers' freedom of choice?
Help to feed the increasing population?
Was the farmer who picked it making a fair wage?
How much land and water did it take to produce it?
Declining global fish resources?
Eating out and eating in, ethically!
Are vegans better for the environment?
The hidden cost of cheap chicken.
The greatest happiness or benefit of the greatest number.
Action justifies the means- ethically right action is the one that maximises the benefit for all in society.
The concept of duty central to morality. Right behaviour follows: universal principles/ duty, cultural and ecological norms, laws.
"moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour or the conducting of an activity;
the branch of knowledge that deals with moral principles." Oxford Dictionaries (2013)
"Engaging in ethical consumption is perhaps the simplest and most realistic form of action open to ordinary people who want to counter global trends of harm"
Farnworth (2008: 175)
BBC Food (2014). Sourcing food: Should we feel guilty about provenance? [online] Available at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/0/26139350 [Accessed 12/10/14].
Carrington, D. (2013). Oxfam reveals global food firms’ gaping ethical shortfalls. The Guardian. [online]. Available at: URL:
http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/feb/26/oxfam-behind-brands-ethical-failures [Accessed 10/10/13].
Crane, A. and Matten, D. (2010) Business Ethics: Managing Corporate Citizenship and Sustainability in the Age of Globalization, 3rd ed., Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Deigh, J. (2010) An Introduction to Ethics., Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Early, R. (2002) "Food Ethics: A Decision Making Tool for the Food Industry?", International Journal of Food Science & Technology., 37 (4) pp. 339–349.
Ethical Consumer (No Date). Top 5 ethical myths. [online]. Available at: URL: http://www.ethicalconsumer.org/shoppingethically/topethicaltips/top5ethicalconsumptionmyths.aspx [Accessed 12/10/13].
Farnworth, C. (2008) "Mixing Is the Way of the World: A New Social Label." in Jiggins, J., Farnworth, C. and Thomas, E. V. (Eds.), Creating Food Futures: Trade, Ethics and the Environment., Aldershot: Gower, 175- 187.
Fennell, D. (2008) Ecotourism., 3rd Edition., Oxon: Routledge.
Fennell, D. A. (2006) Tourism Ethics, Clevedon: Channel View.
Honderich, T. (1995) The Oxford Companion to Philosophy., New York: Oxford University Press in Fennell, D. (2008) Ecotourism., 3rd Edition., Oxon: Routledge.
Korthalas, M. (2001) "Taking Consumers Seriously: Two Concepts of Consumer Sovereignty.", Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics., 14 (2) pp. 201-215.
MacKinnon, B. (2013) Ethics: Theory & Contemporary Issues - Concise Edition., Wadsworth: Cengage Learning.
McDonald- Gibson, C. (2013). Exclusive: Red Cross launches emergency food aid plan for UK’s hungry. [online]. Available at: URL: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/exclusive-red-cross-launches-emergency-food-aid-plan-for-uks-hungry-8872496.html [Accessed 10/10/13].
Oxford Dictionaries (2013). Definition of ethics in English. [online]. Available at: URL: http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/ethics [Accessed 10/10/13].
Sharpe, G. (2013). Feeding the 5,000: Edinburgh event to highlight food waste. BBC News. [online]. Available at: URL: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-edinburgh-east-fife-24406749 [Accessed 10/10/13].
Singer, P. and Mason, J. (2006) The Ethics of What We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter., USA: Rodale Books.
What are the ethical implications of this statement?
Changing boundaries between local and global consumer cultures has significantly contributed to the loss of gastronomic identity
and homogenised consumer eating patterns.
Preparation: 15-20 minutes
Aired in 2010
Top 5 ethical shopping myths
Ethical Consumer (No Date)
The aims of today's session:
to raise your awareness about food ethics
to help you develop your critical and analytical thinking
"put more ethics into our shopping baskets"
Morality and Ethics of Food
Food, Society and Culture
13th October 2015
Should we feel guilty about where our
food comes from?
Do tomatoes need to be on a plastic tray in a cellophane wrapper?
BBC Food (2014)
"Food is really very simple... eat good fresh ingredients. Look for locally produced food," says Oliver Peyton
“There may be times when we are powerless to prevent
injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” (E. Wiesel)
"The difference between moral dilemmas and ethical ones, philosophers say, is that in moral issues the choice is between right and wrong. In ethics, the choice is between two rights"