Food Ethics

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The ethics surrounding food hasn’t always been a major contributor in ones decision on what to eat. In the beginning, we would have to physically hunt or gather our meals in order to survive. The choice of what was for breakfast, lunch or dinner solely relied on what was accessible to us. The ethical questions would only come as a result of a modernized food system, where other options for food became accessible and convenient. In the essay Consider the Lobster by David Foster Wallace, the author describes lobsters in New England in the 1800’s as having an “Unbelievable abundance (238).” These crustaceous creatures were all over the shores of New England. Wallace writes about the Boston seashore as, “being littered with lobsters after hard storms… (238).” Yet, Lobster were considered “low-class” and as Wallace states, “…eaten only by the poor and institutionalized (237).” It was considered unethical to even feed the poor lobster “…more than once a week (238).” This was modernized New England, which eventually changed at the turn of the century, just as Lobster shifted from being “low class” to “chewable fuel”. As the world became more industrialized, food became centralized. The shift from small businesses to large companies started to occur. The lobster industry changed as well during these times as Wallace describes, “Maine’s earliest lobster industry was based around a dozen such seaside canneries in the 1840’s, from which lobster was shipped as far away as California… (238).” Just like the lobster industry in New England, many companies in the United States started to fulfill the demands for products to gain a profit. Ethics became secondary to making money. Corporations would produce so much that they would drive the price down, increasing its affordability and making it more accessible and widely consumed. Eventually, large companies would become so efficient and affordable, that small businesses like farms and mom and pop shops found it increasingly...
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