French Beans and Food Scares: Culture and Commerce in an Anxious Age

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Oxford University Press, 2004 - Social Science - 269 pages
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From mad cows to McDonaldization to genetically modified maize, European food scares and controversies at the turn of the millennium provoked anxieties about the perils hidden in an increasingly industrialized, internationalized food supply. These food fears have cast a shadow as long as Africa, where farmers struggle to meet European demand for the certifiably clean green bean. But the trade in fresh foods between Africa and Europe is hardly uniform. Britain and France still do business mostly with their former colonies, in ways that differ as dramatically as their national cuisines. The British buy their "baby veg" from industrial-scale farms, pre-packaged and pre-trimmed; the French, meanwhile, prefer their green beans naked, and produced by peasants. Managers and technologists coordinate the baby veg trade between Anglophone Africa and Britain, whereas an assortment of commercants and self-styled agro-entrepreneurs run the French bean trade. Globalization, then, has not erased cultural difference in the world of food and trade, but instead has stretched it to a transnational scale.

French Beans and Food Scares explores the cultural economies of two "non-traditional" commodity trades between Africa and Europe--one anglophone, the other francophone--in order to show not only why they differ but also how both have felt the fall-out of the wealthy world's food scares. In a voyage that begins in the mid-19th century and ends in the early 21st, passing by way of Paris, London, Burkina Faso and Zambia, French Beans and Food Scares illuminates the daily work of exporters, importers and other invisible intermediaries in the global fresh food economy. These intermediaries' accounts provide a unique perspective on the practical and ethical challenges of globalized food trading in an anxious age. They also show how postcolonial ties shape not only different societies' geographies of food supply, but also their very ideas about what makes food good.
  

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Review: French Beans and Food Scares: Culture and Commerce in an Anxious Age

User Review  - Kelsey - Goodreads

Good book for geographers and those thinking about where our food comes from and how production of said food affects those producing it. Read full review

Contents

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V
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128
XII
168
XIV
212
XV
224
XVI
236
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Page 249 - LIVINGSTONE'S SOUTH AFRICA. Missionary Travels and Researches in South Africa ; including a Sketch of Sixteen Years' Residence in the Interior of Africa, and a Journey from the Cape of Good Hope to Loando on the West Coast ; thence across the Continent, down the River Zambesi, to the Eastern Ocean. By DAVID LIVINGSTONE, LL.D., DCL With Portrait, Maps by Arrowsmith, and numerous Illustrations.
Page 245 - HASSALL, MD Lond., Analyst of The Lancet Sanitary Commission ; and Author of the Reports of that Commission published under the title of Food and its Adulterations (which may also be had, in 8vo.
Page 249 - DR. MARCET, FRS ON THE COMPOSITION OF' FOOD, AND HOW IT IS ADULTERATED ; with Practical Directions for its Analysis.
Page 240 - Deadly Adulteration and Slow Poisoning unmasked, or Disease and Death in the Pot and...
Page 238 - Legislation on the Production and Export of Fruits and Vegetables from Developing Country Suppliers.

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About the author (2004)


Susanne Freidberg has written about food regulation for the Washington Post and numerous journals. She grew up in the Pacific Northwest, attended Yale and Berkeley, and has received fellowships from the Fulbright Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, and the American Council of Learned Societies. She teaches in the Department of Geography at Dartmouth College.

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