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Innovating Food

by Redazione FGB [1], 13 October 2011

In the light of the 'Innovating Food, Innovating the Law [2]' conference taking place in Piacenza this weekend, we take a look at the history of the food argument on this website.

The Bassetti Foundation has long been interested in problems related to innovation within the food industry. The following is a selection of articles that all broach the subject and can all be found within the archives of the website.

In 2004 Daniele Navarra wrote a 6 part 'reportage' entitled 'Modern Biotechnologies in LCD's, governing innovation in India's agricultural markets [3]' in which he addresses the issues surrounding the introduction of GM seeds to the Indian agricultural sector and the role of the Trade Protection of International Copyrights.

This 2005 article by Cristina Grasseni [4] reports her paper given at the annual Association of Social Anthropology Conference in Aberdeen and delivered in the name of the University of Bergamo and the Bassetti Foundation. The transcription of part of the paper can be seen as a good introduction to the topic of food production, and offers a wide ranging overview of how anthropology has addressed the problems of the reinvention of traditional foods and decision-making about and assessment of new foods.

In Grasseni's follow on post [5] she deepens her analysis of the argument addressing the problem of the responsible use of technology and the social and economic consequences involved in 'the construction of taste as heritage' and the entry of small communities into a globalized sales market. The article is written within the framework of her critique and description of events that took place at the Turin Slow Food Salon of Taste meeting in 2004 at which she participated, and very much reflects her many years as an anthropologist with particular interest in Northern Italian rural communities and different forms of food production.

In 2010 we ran an article entitled 'Cloned meat and Milk Enter the Food Chain [6]' in which we cited news reports that raise serious questions about the regulation of cloning farm animals and foodstuffs.

Also in 2010, President Piero Bassetti, Cristina Grasseni and Niccolò d'Aquino of Americaoggi and Globus et Locus met Carlo Petrini, President of Slow Food International at the Agenzia Di Pollenzo, host of the University of Gastronomic Science. Their discussion is wide ranging, taking in Petrini's description and aims of the Slow Food Project, the political meanings of its agenda and the arguments of sustainability, critical consumption and biotechnology. Part of the conversation is transcribed here [7] (in Italian).

In March 2011 Jonathan Hankins interviewed Professor Andrew Mc Meekin [8] of the Manchester School of innovation and who is also involved in the Sustainable Consumption Institute Project. The conversation took in many aspects of food production and sustainability and its governance. 

The article drew a critique from Prof. Colin Sage [9] of University College Cork that suggested that the way value is given to food should be addressed, in a society that is ever more moving towards economy and convenience, and away from nutrition and health aspects, as defining descriptive categories.

2011 also saw Jeff Ubois post an article entitled 'The Moral Imperative of Biotech Foods [10]' in which he describes how Wikileaks revealed that US diplomats tried to apply pressure on the Vatican to change its stance on agricultural technology.

As well as the above the Bassetti Foundation has been represented at a number of conferences and other gatherings and posted shorter articles and pointers to interesting projects and documents.
The following are just a few examples:

'Biotechnology Food: From the Lab to a Debacle [11]', an article cited in The New York Times, 2001.

A conversation with Professor Ian Angell [12] on GM food and participatory governance, 2003.

The European Food Safety Authority  public consultation [13] on its draft scientific opinion on the potential risks arising from nanoscience and nanotechnologies on food and feed safety and the environment [14], 2008.

Cristina Grasseni at the Slow Food Salon of Taste [15], 2008.

Domus Lab Food Project [16], 2008.

Functional Food, Novel Food and Nano Food [17], a day of study in Milan, 2008.

The Food, Sustainability and Plant Science conference [18], 2009.

Cristina Grasseni at the Food for Mind, Food for health conference [19] in 2010.


(photo: Grain of INIAP Vivar 2010 [20] by CIMMYT International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, from Flickr)

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Links in this document:

  1. 1] /schedabiografica/Redazione FGB
  2. 2] /it/segnalazioni/2011/10/innovating_food_innovating_the.html
  3. 3] /en/navarra/2004/04/modern_biotechnology_in_ldcs_g.html
  4. 4] /en/grasseni/2005/06/slow_food_fast_genes_the_diffe_1.html
  5. 5] /en/grasseni/2005/06/slow_food_fast_genes_the_diffe_1.html
  6. 6] /it/rassegna/2010/08/cloned_meat_and_milk_enter_the.html
  7. 7] /it/grasseni/2010/09/il_cibo_come_innovazione_respo.html
  8. 8] /en/focus/2011/04/responsibility_and_innovation.html
  9. 9] /en/focus/2011/05/prof_colin_sage_on_food_and_mc.html
  10. 10] /en/ubois/2011/01/the_moral_imperative_of_biotec.html
  11. 11] /0due/docs/biotech/lab-debacle-nytimes.htm
  12. 12] /en/navarra/2003/10/a_conversation_with_professor.html
  13. 13] /en/focus/2008/11/european_food_safety_authority.html
  14. 14] http://www.efsa.europa.eu/EFSA/DocumentSet/sc_opinion_nano_public_consultation.pdf
  15. 15] /it/segnalazioni/2008/11/cristina_grasseni_at_the_slow.html
  16. 16] /it/segnalazioni/2008/10/domuslab_food_dove_il_cibo.html
  17. 17] /it/segnalazioni/2008/12/functional_food_novel_food_e_n.html
  18. 18] /it/segnalazioni/2009/10/food_sustainability_and_plant.html
  19. 19] /it/segnalazioni/2010/10/food_for_mind_food_for_health.html
  20. 20] http://www.flickr.com/photos/cimmyt/5958075145/
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cc - photo by CIMMYT from flickr



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