Collected Works

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Operationalizing Ethics in Food Choice Decisions

Enviromatics Food

Daryl H. Hepting, JoAnn Jaffe, and Timothy Maciag

Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics
June 2014, Volume 27, Issue 3, pages 453‐469
doi: 10.1007/s10806-013-9473-8

There is a large gap between attitude and action when it comes to consumer purchases of ethical food. Amongst the various aspects of this gap, this paper focuses on the difficulty in knowing enough about the various dimensions of food production, distribution and consumption to make an ethical food purchasing decision. There is neither one universal definition of ethical food. We suggest that it is possible to support consumers in operationalizing their own ethics of food with the use of appropriate information and communication technology. We consider eggs as an example because locally produced options are available to many people on every continent. We consider the dimensions upon which food ethics may be constructed, then discuss the information required to assess it and the tools that can support it. We then present an overview of opportunities for design of a new software tool. Finally, we offer some points for discussion and future work.