Education for Ethical Consumers: The Food Journey


I’m a compulsive label reader.  Before I buy anything, I can’t seem to stop myself from peering intently at the small print: the list of ingredients.  It’s quite surprising what you can find there – very often items you’ve never heard of, or can’t identify as ‘food’ (probably because it isn’t).  My rule of thumb is, the more unpronounceable or identifiable the items on the list, the less likely I am to want to eat it.  So I put it back on the shelf and move on.

Not all unpronounceable ingredients are as scary as they sound, though, and I would definitely like to know more about what’s what, and why it’s been put there in the first place (sometimes there’s a good reason for it).

So I’m very much looking forward to Slow Food Mother Citys new proposed series of lectures and discussions titled ‘Education for Ethical Consumers’, the first of which is coming up next week, and features food labels:

Tuesday 3 July 2012 – 6.30pm
Lecture 1: The Food Journey:
what our labels tell us about our food (and what they don’t)

This year, SFMC is planning a series of informative lectures aiming at empowering us all to become more ethical consumers.
For Lecture 1, Glenn Ashton, a prominent food and environment activist, will be taking us through the relevant laws which govern food labelling. He will highlight the good aspects, as well as those aspects which are lacking. He’ll also be drawing our attention to areas where we aren’t very well protected and telling us how we can go about making the food system work for us, the consumers it is built to serve. (more info)

The format is short and sweet, with 40 minutes dedicated to the presentation by Glenn Ashton, and the rest of the time devoted to questions and discussion.  The venue is a favourite of mine:  Josephine Mill in Newlands.

There is a small fee for attending (R25 pp) and booking is essential as spaces are limited.  If you’re interested, head over to Slow Food Mother City now for more details and to book your place.

I’ll see you there!

The fantastic cartoon used above was created by Stephanie McMillan:


  • Kit says:

    Love the cartoon! All too true. And the small print often is way too small to read without a magnifying glass. Do let us know what you learn from the lecture.

  • Pia Taylor says:

    Yes, I often find myself holding items up to the light and peering at them with squinted eyes, just to make out what’s in something! I’m fascinated to know what all the numbers mean, and what’s really behind terms like ‘fortified’ and ‘flavourant’ and so on. Will report back after the event!

  • Read the labels. What consumers must know before buying the ‘labels’? #health

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