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Can World Leaders Define 'Culturally Acceptable' Food?

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A group of United Nations diplomats and lawyers are currently attempting to define what constitutes "culturally acceptable food." According to NPR, member nations of the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization are voluntarily drafting guidelines to help define food that is "culturally appropriate" or "culturally acceptable," a phrase that frequently appears in U.N. briefs characterizing access to food as a human right.

The FAO is currently discussing a definition for "responsible investment in agriculture and food systems" to help prevent "land grabs": In Africa specifically, the practice of rich investors buying up farmland has lead to protests and violence. Although a draft of an agreement between nations stated that responsible investments are those that increase the "sustainable production" of "safe, nutritious, diverse, and culturally acceptable food," the new guidelines are supposed to "clarify the difference between responsible and irresponsible agricultural investments."

American delegation members were concerned that the phrase "culturally acceptable food" may lead to some barriers when it came to trade. Some says that the U.S. is worried that the language would mean restrictions on genetically modified food. GMOs have been a controversial topic as of late: Many countries around the world do not sell, or have strict conditions, when it comes to selling genetically modified food.

The African delegation and the U.S are close to a deal it appears however: For now, culturally appropriate food "is understood as food that corresponds to individual and collective consumer demand and preferences, in line with national and international law." The guidelines should be finalized in October.

· Diplomats And Lawyers Try To Define 'Culturally Acceptable Food' [NPR]
· All GMO Coverage on Eater [-E-]

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