As a consumer, one of the most important things I appreciate, and would like to see generalized, is for food products to be entirely traceable. Upstream. Downstream.
- comprehensive outcome is the technical term for this as used by Paul Hawken, everything from extraction to waste disposal.
Consumers should be given the opportunity to know everything about a product if requested. Frequently requested info should be provided on labels. Unfrequent request should be available somewhere, and no consumers asking for it should be dismissed.
- That implies lots of data that only one faction thinks is important. Like, it would matter to Reds if union activity were restricted in some production venue (who don't give a damn about deforestation), and it might matter in the reverse way to Greens.
- As for what "should" go on labels, well, see the whole controversy on GMOs. 90% of the public can agree, and still it doesn't happen. Hmm. Kind of makes you think about the Marxist concept of commodity.
It goes further than the current usual labelling of "best before" or "guaranteed without preservatives", or "content in fat of a serving", which is certainly interesting, but not sufficient to offer full satisfaction.
- And "percent of calories from fat", "grams of carbohydrate per serving", etc. Seems only to get longer.
Consumers should be given other relevant information such as
- when buying beef meat : what type of animal is it (was it young meat beef or an old milk cow), which race, how old (a year old or 4-5 old), which food was it fed with (use of meat, how many months per year in pastures), name and adress of the breeder, name and address of the slaughterhouse
- when buing wine : is that a mixing of several vats ? is it a mix of species ? what is the name of the producer ? Are the producer, the one putting the wine in bottles, the one raising the wine, one or several ?
- when buying flour : is it gmo free, which pesticides, herbicides, fongicides where used by the farmer
Only with numerous info is it relevant to make proper decisions, not only in terms of safety, but also for a more global involvment, such as deciding to buy or not to buy meat from another region, or to buy meat from this slaughterhouse or not.
It should be easy with meat, for a steak is not often mixed with another steak. In some developped countries, one of the first act after the birth of a cow, is to pierce its ear with a permanent label, which will help follow precisely the animal and all what occur to it (if info is appropriately reported), from the birth to the sale. It is not as easy for a pack of flour, resulting from a mix of grains, which themselves didnot existed when the crop was started, and which cannot be individually traced.
- True. But it is still quite hard for meat. Look at the North American been industry which is totally integrated across the Canada-US border, and where it's hard to tell for instance if packers are making money off the depressed price of Canadian live cattle. If you can solve the problem for beef, by all means, contact w:Ralph Klein, Premier of Alberta, and tell him. I'm sure there are good consulting fees in it for you! But it's quite hard, really, in an overly integrated industry designed for factory food.
But, that is a major issue. The consumer have the right to know what he is consuming and processus must take this right into account. Traceability must also go back. Whenever a problem arise at the last step of use, authorities must be able to track the problem up, as quickly and efficiently as possible. When a health issue arise, such as when food poisonning is reported in a school canteen, it must be possible to retrieve information in 24 hours, to know exactly where the cans came from, where the industrial process got wrong, then to go back down the process again, in order to remove from shops and supermarkets ALL the cans which are likely to be spoilt, but ONLY these cans
In short, it is organising the whole agricultural and food production processus to ensure all actors (the producers, the transformers, the sellers, the controllers, the consumers) are given the right tools and relevant, comprehensive and reliable information for the best decisions. It is in consumers hands though.
- Do not forget the resource keepers, those doing or affected by extraction, and those affected by waste disposal, and those involved in providing energy. These are quite important in economies. Natcap says, anyway. And so do trolls.
Regarding features related to foodstuffs, I would like to suggest a database table to map UPC's (or better yet, whatever is the primary key internal to the Consumerium) to the NDB (nutrition data base) number assigned to (mostly) generaically identified foodstuffs by the USDA in their Nutrition Database, which can be downloaded from their web site. Pax, n8chz
- Please link such important concepts, it makes them easier to find in Special:Wantedpages, which is how we track all this stuff we have to fill out. Most of what's in that list has obvious definitions we just haven't bothered with filling in. But if you see something there you don't quite understand immediately, and don't recognize it as strictly factionally defined (like a term only Reds use), then you might make a note of it and include some quick googlewash of the subject so someone else can fill it in.