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Food Ethics

Considering issues of food regulation, food as a human right, food access, and all related.  Led by Jonathan H. Marks, Director Penn State's Bioethics program and Associate Director, Rock Ethics Institute

Location: Penn State Rock Ethics Institute
Members: 59
Latest Activity: Sep 14, 2014

Food Ethics Lecture Series/Webcasts Sponsored by Penn State's Rock Institute Bioethics Group

LECTURE 4:  Caroline Smith DeWaal, Director, Food Safety Program, Center for  Science in the Public Interest:  "The Food Safety Modernization Act:   Creating a Level Playing Field that Promotes Ethics in the   Industry".  Live lecture and webcast, Nov. 14th, 3 p.m.

Caroline Smith DeWaal is  the director of the food safety program for the Center for Science in the  Public Interest and co-author of Is Our Food Safe? A Consumer’s Guide to  Protecting Your Health and the Environment (Three Rivers Press, 2002).  She represents CSPI before Congress and in  the regulatory arena on a broad range of food safety issues. Ms. DeWaal is the  leading consumer analyst on laws and regulations governing food safety, and she  has testified more than twenty times on pending food safety issues before the  United States Congress.  She also  maintains and publishes a listing of foodborne illness outbreaks in the United States  organized by food source. She has presented papers on food safety at over 100  scientific and public policy conferences.   She has participated in a number of World Health Organization  consultations on food safety and is currently an expert advisor on its Integrated  Surveillance of Antibiotic Resistance project. She has participated in several  national advisory committees to USDA and FDA, and was recently selected as a  member of the Food Safety Modernization Act Surveillance Working Group of the  Office of Infectious Diseases, CDC Board of Scientific Counselors. She  represents the International Association of Consumer Food Organizations at  Codex Alimentarius.  DeWaal graduated  from the University   of Vermont and Antioch  School of Law.  She has taught university  classes and courses on national and global food issues. A native of Vermont, and now a resident of Maryland,  DeWaal lives with her husband and two children outside of Washington, D.C.

Antiquated laws have led to a crisis in confidence in the safety   of the nation's food supply. Large outbreaks linked to cantaloupes, eggs, and   peanut butter have caused consumers and Congress to question the effectiveness   of the food safety program run by the Food and Drug Administration. The FDA   Food Safety Modernization Act, signed into law in January 2011, gives FDA   greater authority to require and oversee industry-run food safety control   programs. Will the new law provide enough new protections to restore consumer   confidence? Can companies be trusted to improve the safety of the food supply?

November 14, 2011
3:00 p.m.
  Foster Auditorium, Paterno Library


LECTURE 3:  Prof. David Castle.  "Personalized Nutrician:  Ethical and Regulatory Aspects."  webcast Oct. 24th at 3 p.m.  Translating insights from the human genome project (HGP) into innovations that improve health care, like more and better diagnostics, will occupy an entire generation of researchers. A central motivation underlying the HGP has been to bridge the gap between generaliZed human genomic knowledge and individual genetic applications. Personalized medicine  remains in the future, but achieving some measure of personalization in nutrition may have better prospects. Nutritional genomics and genetics—aka "nutrigenomics"—has been the object of intense ethical and regulatory scrutiny, however, in part because of early direct-to-consumer offers. While concerns about safety must be explored, an overarching framework for assessing risks and benefits has not been agreed upon, much less deployed. A piecemeal approach to weighing ethical and regulatory considerations regarding new science and technology raises problems that will be discussed in the context of personalized nutrition.  To access the webcast, click here: and then on mediasite icon.





The next webcast lecture sponsored by the Rock Ethics Institute features Professor Olivier De Schutter, Professor of Law, University of Louvain; Visiting Professor, Columbia University; and UN   Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food.
His most recent book is International Human Rights Law (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2010).


His lecture is entitled:  "A Tale of Four Hungers."  To view the webcast live and participate, go to:  OCTOBER 11TH, 3P.M.  Lecture is available for viewing after the live event.  Viewers with comments are welcome to converse here or on the Rock blog site at ;  



Paul B. Thompson, W.K. Kellogg Professor of Agricultural, Food and Community Ethics, Michigan State University


"What Makes Food Good? The Terrain of Food Ethics and the Agrarian Tradition"


August 29, 2011

Foster Auditorium, Paterno Library, 3:00 p.m. EST

Paul B. Thompson, W.K. Kellogg Professor of Agricultural, Food and Community Ethics, Michigan State University

"What Makes Food Good? The Terrain of Food Ethics and the Agrarian Tradition"


Did you miss this event?  You can view the video by clicking on this link, and then participate in the Rock Ethics Institute food ethics blog (accessible through the video link) OR return to this group and blog here.  Rock Ethics Institute faculty and staff and Paul Thompson will participate in all discussions.  


This lecture is a part of a Food Ethics lecture series hosted by the Rock Ethics Institute. For more information about this lecture series please visit:

Discussion Forum

USDA's MyPlate criticized for mixing science with "the influence of powerful agricultural interests"

Started by Jonathan H. Marks Sep 16, 2011. 0 Replies

Walter Willett, chair of nutrition at Harvard's School of Public Health argues that the USDA's MyPlate "mixes science with the influence of powerful agricultural interests, which is not the recipe…Continue

Tags: guidelines, bioethics, dietary, industry, ethics

My lecture at Penn State

Started by Paul B. Thompson Aug 28, 2011. 0 Replies

Here are links to a couple of short posts that touch on some of the topics I will be covering in the talk on Aug. 29, 2011,…Continue


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Comment Wall


You need to be a member of Food Ethics to add comments!

Comment by Jonathan H. Marks on August 31, 2011 at 11:58am
As a Brit, I know a little about Jamie Oliver, but I have not followed him a great deal recently.  However, I would never want to be (or hold myself out as) gatekeeper, determining who should and should not be entitled to call him or herself a food ethicist.  Many contributors have come to food ethics from a variety of backgrounds--not least, Michael Pollan (journalism) and Jonathan Safran Foer (the novelist).  And consistent with the guiding principles of PPN, we welcome thoughtful contributions to food ethics discussions from all, whatever their background!
Comment by J. Britt Holbrook on May 5, 2011 at 4:19pm
Does anyone here follow Jamie Oliver, and if so, do you consider him a food ethicist?

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