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The Way We Eat: Why Our Food Choices Matter

by Peter Singer and Jim Mason

Published by Rodale

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Convenience, price, and packaging have become the driving forces behind the American diet. But what is the true cost of our day-to-day food choices?

To answer this timely and important question, coauthors Peter Singer, our most probing ethicist, and Jim Mason, an environmentally conscious writer and attorney, undertake a modern-day odyssey both shocking and illuminating. Beginning their adventure at the dinner tables of three typical families with differing tastes and grocery-shopping habits, they set out to trace the origins of the foods we eat.

Singer and Mason pursue the story with the kind of investigative and intellectual tenacity behind such landmark titles as Silent Spring and Fast Food Nation, hauling in pots from the Chesapeake Bay with a commercial crabber and dumpster diving with an urban band of "freegans." Along the way they check the validity of such labels as "Animal Care Certified," "Certified Humane," "organic," and "Fair Trade." They expose the working conditions in Southern food-processing plants as well as in other countries. They weigh the pros and cons of buying local, the complex dynamics of sustainability, the controversy over genetically modified organisms, the ethics of obesity, and the health implications of raising children vegan.

The Way We Eat concludes with five simple principles that consumers can use to make better food choices. Should we eat meat? If so, what kinds of meat are most humane to eat? What kinds of produce and dairy products? Wild fish, or farmed? Veal -- ever? Recognizing that not all of us will become vegetarians, Singer and Mason offer powerful reasons for eating more conscientiously.

pub date: 2006-05-09 | hardcover | 9781579548896