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Rebecca has recently contributed to a new book ‘Food and Drink – The Cultural Context’, edited by Donald Sloan. Here’s a taster of what she’s been writing about.
Since the very nature of the food industry being a global entity it is inevitable that global ethics appears in every aspect of food production and the processing cycle. Therefore, taking a general ethical stance, Rebecca introduces the piece with the following hard hitting contrasts:-
• We produce more food at lower prices than at any other point in history, but still millions of people live in hunger
• Science and technology have rendered once underproductive land fertile and yet thousands of acres become barren each year from poor agricultural practices
• Global distribution systems have combined with refrigeration to facilitate widespread access to fresh produce in all corners of the earth, yet one third of the food that is produced perishes before it gets to market
• Developments in genetics have produced super-resident crops, but consumers are afraid to eat them
• Millions go hungry and the health of thousands is threatened by obesity caused by excess
• We value freshness but consume more processed foods than ever before
• International trade is in food thrives and yet Governments covet food security
• Genetic biodiversity is considered fundamental to food security and yet monocultures dominate
Rebecca continues to explore these issues under the headings of five modern dilemmas; Hunger, Obesity, Technology, Waste and Environmental Impacts.
The issues are complex and have vast ethical dimensions especially when considering there are seven billion mouths to feed in the world today which is due to increase to nine billion in 2015. Therefore, as she concludes, it is a huge irony that those organisations that produce, process, retail and serve food who can make change are the very giants that are criticised of unethical practice.