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



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 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

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

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