ethics

Reader beware.

Something that has been bothering me for a while.

Shopper's Guide to Pesticides iPhone App

3 years ago, I mentioned a handy list of produce ranked by how much pesticide is used to grow them. The higher (=more pesticides) the ranking, the better it would be to stick to organically grown.

I recently got a new iPhone (yes…I’m the very opposite of an Early Adopter of tech gadgets) and discovered that the same list is available as a free iPhone app called DirtyProduce. Here’s a screenshot of the opening page:

dirtyproducep1.png

It doesn’t do much beyond list the Dirty Dozen (the most heavily pesticide-treated fruits and vegetables), the Clean 15 (the last pesticide-used) and the full list of 47 produce items, but it’s handy to have around with you. Who knew for instance that peaches were the most pesticide-laden fruit or vegetable? I tend not to peel my peaches, and I ate, oh I don’t know, a few tons of them over the summer. I may start peeling them next season, or look for non-treated ones.

Anyway, if you do have an iPhone, take a look. And if you don’t, there is still the PDF list to print out and carry in your wallet.

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Real beef

Some real meat this time.

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Meat and the environment

Today is Green Day, and we’re being bombarded with Green Day Sales, reminders as to how Green this company or the other is, and so on. It’s a big topic nowadays.

I feel that the things that we can do as individuals is getting increasingly muddy. For a while it seemed like biofuels were a solution, but now the huge demand for plant-based fuels may be causing serious food shortages. Food miles and locavorism may not be as clear cut a solution either. Michael Pollan says we should start growing our own vegetables, but that’s not possible for a lot of people, for space or time reasons.

Is there something relatively easy we can do? Sort of.

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Hold the tuna and the food guilt, please

Tuna with a side of mercury, and all that.

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Cloned meat and animal products poll results

Thank you to everyone to participated in the cloned meat poll! Here are the somewhat surprising results.

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A new poll: Would you eat food from cloned animals?

The first poll about chickens (the original question, the actual poll, and the results summarized) was so interesting to me, that I’d like to make polls a semi-regular feature on Just Hungry. I think that polls and the answers to them on difficult issues can help qualify one’s thinking on the subject. So, here is another one for you about on the subject of the ethics of eating. The subject is cloned animals.

Yesterday the The U.S. government approved the sale of food from cloned animals. Here is the Food and Drug Administration’s report. The European Union issued a public call for consultation on the scientific issues regarding food derived from cloned animals. The draft opinion of the agency (link, PDF) is that such food is safe for human consumption.

How do you feel about this? Remember that food from cloned animals would include eggs, milk and milk products as well as meat. Please include your opinions in the comments to the poll too.

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The U.S. government has approved the sale of food from cloned animals and the EU seems to be headed that way - what will you do?

I'll buy and eat cloned meat and eggs and milk, no problem.
36% (92 votes)
I may try it, but I'm skeptical.
26% (67 votes)
No way will I buy cloned foods, ever.
34% (89 votes)
Other
4% (11 votes)
Total votes: 259
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Saturday morning thoughts no. 1: Chicken poll results

The results of the Chicken Poll posted earlier this week

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The question of food ethics: What's your chicken policy?

thechoiceswemake.jpg

It may well be that 2008 is the year when questions of ethics and choice really come to the fore. In the UK, coincidentally or not three major TV programmes on the subject have been airing this week. As I mentioned earlier the BBC is airing a second season (series) of Kill It, Cook It, Eat It, a program about the slaughtering of animals for human consumption. On Channel 4, two heavyweights of the TV cooking world, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver, are tackling the issue of battery raised chickens. In the U.S. Michael Pollan, author of the seminal The Omnivore’s Dilemma, has a new book out, In Defense Of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto (I haven’t read this yet). Here in Switzerland, the leading supermarket chain stopped selling traditionally raised fois gras, at least in the German speaking parts of the country.

I don’t really have hard-and-fast rules on food. I’m not a diehard locavore, I’m not a ethically-motivated vegan, I buy conventionally farmed produce as well as organic. One food I do have a firm line on is chicken. Ever since I found out in what conditions factory farmed chickens are raised, I have only bought organically raised ‘happy’ chickens and eggs, as I wrote about two years ago. I think that chicken is a sort of bottom line type of food. A lot of people nowadays may be avoiding red meat and pork (is pork a red or white meat? I’m never sure), but they do eat chicken. And even if you don’t eat chicken, you may eat eggs.

So, I’m curious. What are your personal policies when it comes to chicken? I’ ve put up a poll about it - please vote, and tell me your opinion in the comments there.

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