Food and Ethics – Term Paper

As the world is changing and growing, the human beings are also advancing and changing most of their ways of living to cope with the world and also to ease their ways of living. One of the areas where changes have been recognized is the field of food aspects. With advancement in technology and research, the manner of growing, processing, preserving, and even consuming our foods has changed. People have now turned to the use of processed and conventionally grown foods (Vanga et al., 24). However, various researches have indicated that most of the processed and conventionally foods are unhealthy both to human beings and also raise negative environmental impacts. Despite this knowledge, little seems to be done to control the problem. Some people define or recognize healthy food based on its nutritious value only. However, nutrition is only an element of health indicators. Healthy food should be defined as the ultimate result of a food system that renews and conserves natural resources, builds community wealth, advances social justice, promotes human and animal welfare, and fulfills the nutrition needs of its eaters presently and also in the future (Vanga et al., 25). In the past, people adopted the natural and organic way of eating and there were no health or environmental problems that were connected to these foods. Nevertheless, there is still a prevalence of processed and conventionally grown foods, which continues to impact our health and our environment. Therefore, what caused the prevalence of processed and conventionally grown foods to impact our health as well as our environment, and what can we do to make the whole foods available to all.

In the past, people did not complain about the foods they eat having any negative impact on their health or their environment. During these times, people only produced for subsistence purposes; the major aim was to grow food that would be enough for all. Except during droughts and other major catastrophes, it was difficult to hear of any famine or malnutrition (Vanga et al., 29). Almost all people had enough food to eat and either preserve little for the following seasons because of unpredictable weather, or even give their friends who maybe did not produce in that particular season because of unfavorable weather conditions. However, with increased need to improve the lifestyle, commercialization of food products was introduced. People realized that they could make income from the sale of agricultural products, this led to an increased demand for more food products. This is when people started developing ways they could minimize losses to their agricultural foods through conventional ways and also ways of preserving and adding value to food by processing. Commercialization also led people to lose their brotherhood nature of helping the needy and the poor because of greed for more income. Increased commercialization led people to forget the natural purpose of food; of nourishment and promoting health. Today people are using harmful chemicals and unethical methods of processing food to increase their production and subsequently their income, which has negatively impacted our health as well as our environment. Therefore, it is the commercialization of food products that has driven food processing and conventional methods of production, which in turn has negatively affected our health as well as our environment.

According to Margret Mead, a controversial cultural anthropologist, in her article dubbed The Changing Significance of Food, our relationship with food has changed because of the economic, political, and cultural trends. She posits that it is common to see or hear people dying of malnutrition and hunger in one part of the world while people in another are not only well-nourished but over-nourished (Mead 167). Based on Mead, it is clear that the natural significance of food has changed, today people find it hard or maybe pretend not to be in the capacity to provide food to those in need. Mead gives an example of the richest Rajah who donated his jewels for the purchase of food to be used by his subjects. Mead supports the argument that commercialization of food has led to an alteration of the original significance of food. Additionally, various organizations and groups are using unfavorable strategies to address the issue of food security. For instance, The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), stresses on the use of artificial fertilizers as a way of achieving food security (Mead 175). Yet, the use of such fertilizers and pesticides may be a greater danger to our health as well as our environment. Additionally, it is commercialization that encourages the use of machines in our farms during production and also processing, which still poses environmental issues such as noise pollution. However, there is a gap between Mead and the current work because she focuses on achieving food security while the current study focuses on how changing the initial significance of food caused an impact on our health and environment.

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Barbara Kingsolver, an award-winning author, also touches on the issue of food and ethics in her article titled You Cant Run Away on Harvest Day. Although Kingsolver focuses about how cultural or social factors have affected many peoples eating habits, especially the vegetarians who dislike eating meat of a killed animal because of their value for life, she insists on the organic methods of food production and processing. For instance, Kingsolver states that the products from animals raised in open pasture are better and enhance a sustainable environment (Kingsolver 189). For instance, she condemns deforestation for purposes of agriculture. Therefore, most of the current methods of food production do not put emphasis on the environmental issues. Kingsolver emphasizes on adoption of organic techniques of food production and also processing. Additionally, Kingsolver does not encourage food production for commercial purposes; instead, she advocates for a production for subsistence use. This is also supported by Mead who also states that production should be aimed at feeding the others. Therefore, Kingsolver, states that organic methods of food production can be achieved by adoption of subsistence farming; where a person produces food for own consumption. Specifically, she insists on consuming approximately the same things we produce (Kingsolver 193).

However, Peter Singer, an influential philosopher, disapproves Kingsolvers claims by stating that human beings should not meet their interests by violating the well-being of the animals. Simply, he rejects confinement and feeding on animals. However, Singer opposes the notion of commercialization of food and also adoption of the conventional methods of farming. He states that the animals should be allowed to access the outdoors. Singer does not advocate for complete censor eating of animals, what he does is advocate for more natural and organic way of handling the animals, which involves giving them freedom to graze from outdoors (Singer 180). Justly, most of the animals confined in a factory farm is fed with commercial or artificial products. The feeds are made in factories, which means that most of do not know what we are feeding these animals, therefore, there is a likelihood of consuming harmful chemicals together with the animal products. However, Singer does not provide us with the environmental benefits of refuting raising animals in factory farms and adopting the outdoor method. Therefore, it is important to focus on the environmental benefits of organic farming.

In summary, commercialization of food is the major cause of prevalence of processed and conventionally grown foods, which has negatively impacted our health as well as our environment. Therefore, it is important to face the reality and change our view of food as a commercial product. Even during production, human beings should understand that it is meant for human consumption. We should also realize that a clean environment is also a benefit to all of us. Consequently, it is important to adopt the natural and organic foods and methods. To make the whole foods accessible to us, it is important to cease commercialization of foods and put our health at the forefront. Additionally, adoption of subsistence farming, where everyone grows food for their consumption can ensure accessibility of whole foods.

 Works Cited

Kingsolver, Barbara. “You Cant Run Away on Harvest Day.” Kingsolver, Barbara and Stephen L. Hopp:Camille Kingsolver. Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life. HarperCollins, 2007. Print.

Mead, Margret. “Changing significance of food.” Mead, Margret. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. Elsevier Inc., 1970. 17-19. Print.

Singer, Peter. “Equality for Animals?” Singer, Peter. Practical Ethics. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011. 48-69. Print.

Vanga, Sai Kranthi, Ashutosh Singh, and Vijaya Raghavan. “Review of Conventional and Novel Food Processing Methods on Food Allergens”. Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition (2015): 00-00. Web.