Novel foods and consumer rights: Concerning food policy in a liberal state [Book Review]

Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 12 (1):71-80 (2000)
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In the public debate concerning novel foods, someconsumer groups claim a consumer right to have accessto certain kinds of food in the market. To discusssuch statements, the paper identifies the reasons thatmay justify liberal states to regulate food. Althoughit defends certain paternalistic activities, itfavours an autonomy-centred food policy. Autonomy andconsumer sovereignty require that certain conditionsare fulfilled. It may be argued that one suchcondition is that the consumer should have choices.Against this position, the paper defends the view thatliberty rights to choose are limited to areas whichare of great importance for personal identity and thegood life. Local decisions in the area of foodconsumption do not have such importance, though globalones may have it. But even if this were true,government activity to protect such liberties shouldbe limited to the guarantee of formal conditions forthe good life of persons. It is not a legitimate taskof the government to safeguard specific conceptions ofthe good life.



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Equality, Liberty, and Perfectionism.Vinit Haksar - 1979 - Philosophy 56 (215):131-132.

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