Food ethics dilemma: An open learning resource for teaching ethics

  • Algers A
  • Kaiser M
  • Kallum C
 et al. 
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Ethical issues arise in any food chain and the depth and range of ethical aspects of the 'history' of foods are often hidden, but the potential for opening up this information is considerable. Climate change, animal welfare, fair trade, health and safety, novel foods and GM foods, sustainability and use of natural resources are all important dimensions within the complex concept of food ethics. It is also important to note the various levels of actor perspectives involved in food ethics. Stakeholders in the food chain prioritise and interpret ethical concerns differently. Consumers (micro-level) are increasingly worried about unethical aspects of the food chain. Restaurants, food chains and distributors (meso-level) will strongly influence market availability, and national and international policy (macro-level) can influence through agricultural production incentives/subsidies. For all these levels, ethical questions of good and bad decision-making can be asked. The different stakeholder perspectives will be the point of departure when developing an open learning resource on food ethics dilemmas. The web-based learning resource will be free of charge enabling open access to all members of society and with a multi-player function making it possible to choose an avatar (e.g. a farmer, a manager at a food industry, or a consumer) and play the game in real time against another player with a different stakeholder perspective. The avatar is placed in a situation with a dilemma and the player has to make choices between alternative actions, which bring the avatar to new and more intricate dilemmas. Having played the game from one avatar of stakeholders' view the user can choose to look at the same dilemma from another stakeholder's point of view. Through the learning resource on food ethics players will obtain a better understanding both of their own ethical views and those of others. © Wageningen Academic Publishers, The Netherlands, 2010.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Decision-making
  • E-learning
  • Open educational resources
  • Teaching ethics

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