Global Ethics Corner: Slow Versus Fast Food

October 31, 2008

Is fast food an ethical as well as a dietary issue? Yes, says the slow-food movement whose motto is: good, clean, fair food. Let's look at this claim more closely.

Stephanie Assmann of Tohoku University, Japan suggests, "The aims of the movement are to preserve local foods and wines, to ensure a high quality of food, and to rediscover a refined sense of taste."

As a backlash against homogenization, slow food is not merely the opposite of fast. The movement posits a need to reduce the pace of life and to improve the quality of life through awareness of food. She also suggests that the slow food movement is an ethical choice for your region and against globalization.

Paradoxically, the movement is a global initiative with worldwide chapters, using the Internet and branding to connect communities. Moreover, it is not clear whether the movement is only against imports or against exports, as well. Both could help the cause of preserving food diversity, increasing markets to help ensure the survival of local foods. Curiously, the movement in Japan has been supported and initiated by restaurants and food purveyors. Is there an ulterior, marketing motive?

Will you stop eating fast and eat slow, or does this go against the grain of modernity? In either case, food can be enjoyed, not just consumed.

Adapted from a blog posting by Devin Stewart on Fairer Globalization

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