Introduction: Food Ethics in a Globalized World – Reality and Utopia

  • Hans Werner Ingensiep
  • Marc Meinhardt


Food Ethics has become an essential part of a globalized world and thus the question “What is Food Ethics?” seems almost superfluous. At the beginning of the twenty-first century about one billion people are starving all over the world, while the industrial nations are locked in debate about the financial crisis or climate change. At the same time there are many interdisciplinary discussions about special problems in the field of applied ethics and in this new and young discipline called Food Ethics. Experts mainly in Western societies discuss everything pertaining to the entire food chain, like obesity, traceability, agro-food biotechnology, transgenic plants, biofuels, and the world trade system. On the other hand, for years non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have been lamenting politicians’ lack of interest in creating or using existing ethical tools for solutions geared toward changing this situation. This background motivated us to compile this book and hence give some insights into current discussions and important issues within the field of Food Ethics. The main principles, tools and case studies are presented in this book as well as useful information at national and international levels. Today we are still far from Food Ethics being a regular subject at schools or universities – even though it should be and will be of great interest in the future. However, it is questionable whether Food Ethics should be understood as a homogeneous discipline. Many scientists of diverse disciplines are currently working on Food Ethics, and each of them has chosen a different theoretical or practical approach. Within the scope of Food Ethics the focus of interest is not only on reaching scientific but also economic and/or political goals. In politics or economics ethical matters in particular have to be taken into account. Today, the image of business and management ethics is enhanced when Food Ethics standards are applied.


Precautionary Principle Virtual Water Globalized World Agrarian Reform Living Substance 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


  1. Bacon F (1938) New Atlantis. In: Moore Smith CG (ed). Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  2. Baranzke H, Gottwald F-T, Ingensiep HW (2000) Leben Töten Essen. Anthropologische Dimensionen. Hirzel, StuttgartGoogle Scholar
  3. Beauchamp TL, Childress JF (2008) Principles of biomedical ethics (6th ed). Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  4. Beekman V et al. (ed) (2006) Ethical bio-technology assessment tools for agriculture and food production. Final report Ethical Bio-TA Tools (QLG6-CT-2002-02594). The Hague 2006 Accessed 8 January 2010
  5. Butler S (1979) Erewhon. Erewhon revisited. Reprint (1872/1901). Dent, LondonGoogle Scholar
  6. Campanella T (2004) The city of the sun. A poetical dialogue between a grandmaster of the knights hospitallers and a Genoese sea-captain, his guest. Accessed 10 November 2008
  7. Comstock GL (ed) (2002) Life science ethics. Iowa State Press, Ames, IAGoogle Scholar
  8. Eder K (1993) The new politics of class. Social movements and cultural dynamics in advanced societies. Sage, LondonGoogle Scholar
  9. Ekardt F (2004) Zukunft in Freiheit: Eine Theorie der Gerechtigkeit, der Grundrechte und der politischen Steuerung. CH Beck, MünchenGoogle Scholar
  10. Hesiod (1914) Works and days. (transl: Evelyn-White HG) Accessed 12 October 2008
  11. Kropotkin P (1970) The conquest of bread. University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  12. Kropotkin P (1902) Mutual aid: A factor of evolution. William Heinemann, LondonGoogle Scholar
  13. Meadows D, Randers J, Meadows D (2004) Limits to growth. The 30-year update. Earthscan, LondonGoogle Scholar
  14. Meadows DS, Meadows DH, Zahn E (1972) Die Grenzen des Wachstums. Deutsche Verlags-Anstalt, StuttgartGoogle Scholar
  15. Mepham B (ed) (1996) Food ethics. Routledge, LondonGoogle Scholar
  16. Mepham B (2005) Bioethics. An introduction for the biosciences. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  17. Rousseau J-J (2004) A discourse upon the origin and the foundation of the inequality among mankind. Accessed 11 November 2008
  18. Sachs W (1992) The developmental dictionary. A guide to knowledge as power. Zed Books, LondonGoogle Scholar
  19. Schumacher EF (1999) Small is beautiful. Economics as if people mattered. 25 years later… with commentaries. Hartley & Marks, VancouverGoogle Scholar
  20. Schumacher EF (1973) Small is beautiful. Economics as if people mattered. HarperCollins, LondonGoogle Scholar
  21. Skorupinski B, Baranzke H, Ingensiep HW, Meinhardt M (2006) Consensus conferences – A case study: PubliForum in Switzerland with special respect to the role of lay persons and ethics. J Agric Environ Ethics 20:37–52. doi 10.1007/s10806-006-9016-7CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute for Philosophy, University of Duisburg-EssenEssenGermany

Personalised recommendations