Food and Technology

Authored by: David M. Kaplan

The Routledge Handbook of Food Ethics

Print publication date:  July  2016
Online publication date:  July  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138809130
eBook ISBN: 9781315745503
Adobe ISBN: 9781317595502


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Everything we eat has been grown, raised, or processed using technologies. Even ancient forms of farming and ranching used man-made things to transform plants or animals into food. Foraging for food without technologies is, of course, possible – but unless eaten raw, we require some technology. The diet of a typical city-dweller, a group that includes over half the world’s population, would be impossible without technologies of production, distribution, and preparation. It is safe to say that without some kind of technology everyone in the world would starve to death. Yet technology and food are like chalk and cheese, at least according to common perception. They represent the poles along a continuum of life: one is organic, the other inorganic; one is natural, the other artificial; one is edible, the other inedible; one is wholesome, the other corrupting. Technology, on this reckoning, is viewed as the antithesis of everything having to do with food. The more technology is involved in our food, the worse it is; the less it is involved, the better.

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