Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics 12 (2):113-126 (2000)
AbstractMoral concern with food intake is as old asmorality itself. In the course of history, however,several ways of critically examining practices of foodproduction and food intake have been developed.Whereas ancient Greek food ethics concentrated on theproblem of temperance, and ancient Jewish ethics onthe distinction between legitimate and illicit foodproducts, early Christian morality simply refused toattach any moral significance to food intake. Yet,during the middle ages food became one of theprinciple objects of monastic programs for moralexercise (askesis). During the seventeenth andeighteenth century, food ethics was transformed interms of the increasing scientific interest in foodintake, while in the nineteenth century the socialdimension of food ethics was discovered, with theresult that more and more attention was given to theproduction and distribution of food products. Becauseof the increasing distance between the production andconsumption of food products ever since, theoutstanding feature of contemporary food ethics is itreliance and dependence on labeling practices.
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