177120 Ethics of 21st century food

Tuesday, October 28, 2008: 8:45 AM

Kelly Hills , Department of Philosophy, University at Albany, State University of New York, Albany, NY
America has become a nation obsessed with food. We are orthorexics searching for the latest and best in healthy eating. In that drive for health, we created the science of nutritionism, deconstructing food into its essential nutrient parts and then attempting to reconstruct that foodstuff into better, cheaper, faster, edible material. This has given us such recent innovations as vitamin-enriched Diet Coke and heart healthy chocolate.

Industrial capitalism is now attempting to maximize organic potential and the moral approbation of organic labeling without actually adhering to the principles at the heart of the sustainable organic market. America's increasing isolation from its food supply has ruptured cyclical causal chains, creating a system where it is easier to search for technological fixes than address our actual disconnection from sustainable agriculture.

Using the works of John Coveney, Michel Foucault, Michael Pollan and others, this paper will show how our relationship with food has created an industrialized, centralized food system that isolates our crops from our livestock from ourselves. The very way in which we eat has become moralized, codified through a genealogy of historical and social imperatives, where those who can eat in supposedly sustainable ways pay not only to eat better, but to feel better about themselves. The end result is that our food continues down an unsafe and unsustainable path.

Learning Objectives:
1. Draw out the connections between industrialization, nutritionism, orthorexia and the morality of how we eat. 2. Articulate the ways in which how we eat has become moralized. 3. Assess local community attitudes towards food and identify areas of that can move towards true sustainability.

Keywords: Food and Nutrition, Bioethics

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a full time philosophy and bioethics student at the University at Albany (philosophy) and the Alden March Bioethics Institute (bioethics). In addition, I am the senior editorial assistant for the American Journal of Bioethics, and have been working in various research capacities at the Alden March Bioethics Institute for the past 18 months. I also write professionally for several humanities and ethics blogs.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.