Food Ethics

Are there any foods that you refuse to eat for ethical reason? My main one is that I don’t eat (much) shrimp after reading about the endenture servitude that’s so prevelant in a lot of shrimp harvesting. I’ve also heard some about why you shouldn’t eat Blue Fin Tuna, but I don’t seem to encounter it very often, so that’s an easy one not to eat. And I have some former friends who wouldn’t eat fois gras.

Any no-nos for you?

Highly processed food


Oh, so no no-nos?

Is this more of a health concern than ethical?


No “no-no’s”

But what about any no-goes?

Not really. There are things I’d never buy myself, but if I go to a cheap good restaurant I don’t worry about their sourcing.

Glyphosate-resistant (“RoundUp-ready”) GMOs, RBST dairy, and animals routinely fed antibiotics are fucked up ecologically and bad for public health. If you choose the best products you won’t buy any of these anyway.

Weird American torture-chamber “veal” is disgusting, but the texture and flavor are wrong anyway.

The practices of chicken and pork factory farms creep me out. I’d be happy to see them banned and Tyson out of business, but the main reason I avoid them is that traditionally raised animals taste several orders of magnitude better.

Foie gras birds are treated better than 99.99% of American farm animals. Videos of gavage freak people out but that’s anthropomorphism, it doesn’t hurt the birds.

I am currently analyzing the benefit-to-risk ratio of my habit of ingesting dihydrogen monoxide on a daily basis…

No, that’s silly. Even sillier than “no-no’s”

Why draw the line at how a particular food source, or ingredient, is sourced, manufactured or procured?

What about the chef/cook making your meal? How do you know he isn’t a racist? Or a wife-beater? What if the chef is a child molester? Or perhaps your chef just loves bluefin tuna?

Or how about how the linen is made or imported from that’s used on your tables? And that silverware you’re eating with? What if they’re made with slave labor?

What if part of the price of your meal was used to pay for a diamond earring made from DeBeers (they of the “blood diamonds”) that your chef is sporting on her earlobe?

Where does one draw the line?

Fuck, just eat.

Enjoy what you eat. Worry less, eat more. Be happy.

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All of my responses to you were in jest, so apologies if that tone didn’t translate through the void. Didn’t mean to provoke.

It’s true that we can only control so much and that the line of when to care and when to be laissez-faire can be blurry at best. I don’t have any answers. And I didn’t create this thread with any agenda or judgement. Just trying to learn about how others interested in food view this food-related topic.

So, thanks for the response.

@J_L Agreed. We must band together to eliminate this terrible plague on society.

@robert Frankly, I’m pretty ignorant to most of the things you mentioned. So, bliss? I appreciate the response, though. I’ll definitely look into some of those topics.

I avoid spending money on things that directly promote things I’m against, such as (to name the most extreme examples) slavery and species extinction.

I don’t make a fetish of it. The point is to focus my spending to promote agricultural and business practices I approve of, not to strive for personal purity.

I don’t believe that because you can’t do everything, you should do nothing. I don’t have to know every little thing about a restaurant, its sourcing or its employees’ politics to know that I wouldn’t cross a picket line to eat there.

Lakireddy Bali Reddy, the owner of a Berkeley restaurant, was convicted of bringing underage sex slaves from India after one of them died as a result of a badly maintained heater in one of his thousand or so slummy rental units. Business at his restaurant fell off pretty dramatically after his arrest.

Eating out and dining, for me, is for the most part a pure hedonistic pleasure. Not even a guilty one.

I see no reason to make social or political statements with my dining choices. Personally, I have better and more effective ways to influence social or political changes, or to attempt to express my views of such changes.

There simply is no reason to do indirectly (dining choices) what I can do significantly better directly.

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Just goes to show how irrational people can be sometimes.

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Obviously, I’m much less powerful than you. So I must work with what I have.