Professor to speak on 'The Future of Food Ethics' April 23

Jonathan H. Marks, associate professor of bioethics, humanities and law; associate director of the Rock Ethics Institute; and director of the bioethics program at Penn State; will present "The Future of Food Ethics" at 3 p.m. on Monday, April 23, in the Foster Auditorium at Paterno Library on the University Park campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Marks currently is a nonresidential fellow at the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. He leads a collaborative research project that is jointly funded by the Rock Ethics Institute and the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics (through its Lab on Institutional Corruption), exploring the ethical and policy implications of industry sponsorship of health-related food research, nutrition education and practice. Marks has co-organized -- with Donald B. Thompson, emeritus professor of food science at Penn State -- a workshop sponsored by the Rock Ethics Institute on “The Ethical Challenges and Policy Implications of Industry-Funded Health-Related Food Research” (Penn State, March 2008), a follow-up symposium titled “Industry Sponsorship and Health-Related Food Research Institutional Integrity, Ethical Challenges, and Policy Implications” (Penn State, March 2012); and the Rock Ethics Institute’s Food Ethics Lecture Series 2011-12. Marks took the lead role in developing Penn State’s new dual-title doctoral program in bioethics (the first of its kind in the country) that allows and requires students to combine bioethics with one of a number of other disciplines in their dissertation.

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What do we mean when we talk about "food ethics?" What role have industry, government, the academy, and other actors played in shaping what we know about food, and our understanding of the various issues identified as questions of "food ethics?"  This lecture will explore the contours of food ethics, outlining (among other things) the ethical implications of the complex webs of human relations on which our food networks depend, as well as the practical impacts of food production and consumption on the environment, and human and animal health. The lecture will highlight the most pressing issues in food ethics that we face locally, nationally, and globally; identify the tools that ethics might helpfully bring to the table; and explore the potential contribution concepts such as "food justice" to policy discussions. Unlike previous lectures in the series, this will be a shorter lecture, leaving time for formal responses as well as general discussion.

Last Updated May 19, 2016