This past week we have discussed the values of local food v. nationally/internationally distributed products.  What I have concluded from this is that both systems should exist simultaneously.  These are both extremes and either are possible all the time.  Even when food trade was developing and at its peak local food sales did not completely disappear.  Throughout time there has been and always will be a constant push and pull between these two systems.  Ideally the local food system will promote transparent exchanges for larger scale food exchanges.  The environmental and organic movements can also contribute to both of these systems by encouraging ecologically friendly farming techniques, opposing cruel treatment to animals, and supporting fair treatment of laborers.  Our utopia cannot be one of these movements because if we focus solely on the local movement developing nations that supply us with produce will be significantly impacted.  If we continue to heavily trade and transport food the quality and level of safety of the food is at risk.  Furthermore if we only grow organically or environmentally friendly the cost of food can increase to a point that is unattainable for people of lower income.  This is not to say that each person has to be neutral and buy tomatoes from Florida, bananas from South America, and locally grown blueberries.  The point is that it is good to have foodies who only eat exotic and authentic food that is locally grown, while their neighbor shops at the grocery store for produce from around the world organic or not.  In the US we have such a diversity of food purchasing methods that it doesn’t matter if one person does something different.  The purpose though is for everyone to interact and learn about the other systems and their benefits in an effort to make the system the best as possible.

 

Many people understand that the government is in charge of food safety, yet regulation is heavily influenced by farm and meat industries that are looking to make a profit.  Nestle points out that advertising agencies also use the law and government protections to use manipulative methods of advertising junk food.  The problem is that marketing agencies are smarter than what some consumers would like.  They have come to understand the powers of children; so instead of marketing junk food to parents they target children in hopes that they can convince their parents to buy the product.  Many people view this as unfair manipulation because the children do not understand that the product is unhealthy.  Some nutritionists are connecting child obesity to advertising methods such as this.  In response they are proposing regulations that limit the population that can be targeted for junk food.  The marketing agencies are using their first amendment rights to continue their ways.  There are two problems with this situation.  The first is that consumers would like to believe or would like to make a food system that produces what is best for consumers and looks out for their well being.  This is far from true.  The food system is an economic system out to make a profit; they care little about the effects their products have on their consumers.  The only way to convince them to care is to not buy their product but buy one that is healthier.  In this case consumers are in control.  So instead of trying to limit advertising capabilities agencies working against childhood obesity should try and change American’s consumer habits of buying junk food.  The other problem is that when large corporations were founded the government decided to treat each one as an individual meaning that they are held to the same standards as one citizen.  In some ways Nestle is arguing that corporations should be held to higher standards one that protects the well being of US citizens.  In conclusion I agree that advertising agencies unfairly use children, but at the same time there are consumer misunderstandings and flaws in our political system that allows them to do so.

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