Do you Eat Ethically?

“Behind the Kitchen door” is the story of the people who serve our food.

Better said it’s the story of the people of people working in the restaurant industry. Whoever has worked in a bar or restaurant knows that those jobs are of the hardest ones existing. But we are not aware that those people are often also exposed to discriminatory labor practices, exploitation, and unsanitary kitchens besides earning only a minimum wage (or lower). In These Times writes: “The restaurant industry is one of the few that has actually grown during the economic crisis.”Watch the following video of the Restaurant Opportunities Center to understand who’s behind the project:

The people working in these conditions are usually the following: immigrants, students and middle aged professionals. It’s them to suffer from an “industry with atrocious wages, typically non-existent benefits, rampant discrimination and often dangerous or unhealthy working conditions.” It’s a place full of discrimination and sexual harassment and there is no such thing as equality: “studies show that restaurant workers earn an average $17,844 per year; and that people of color earn a full $4 less per hour on average than whites.” Also it depends in which kind of restaurant you work, fast food pays less (only around 9$ per hour). “Eighty percent of fast-food workers are people of color.”

It’s not the only industry with poor working conditions. Now with the crisis, more sectors are starting to look like this. People – at least here in Spain – are afraid to ask for their rights. They accept working overtime for free, unbearable workloads and harassment.

It’s up to use to chose where we eat. Do you eat ethically?


4 thoughts on “Do you Eat Ethically?

  1. Excellent video, and I’m sure the book will be an eye-opener.

    Each person’s life experience contributes to how they define their ethics, which means that ethics are now defined more than seven billion different ways. Ethics will always be debated, which is a healthy process for society. It is often when we chase personal gain that our ethics may be compromised to allow for the suffering of others. For example, a business owner’s quest for profitability may lead him or her to abuse the workers. Our food industry is rife with such abuses, from farm to food processing to retail to restaurant.

    A causal factor: my society’s (USA) focus on purchase price over all other factors. Many people in this country would rather purchase goods with a cheap sticker price than goods of better quality or better ethics. Such a strongly consumerist society is nearly certain to eventually bring about its own demise due to a self-perpetuated lack of resources and lack of skills. I do wonder what the state of our society will be fifty years from now.

    • Thanks. As they already said in Acient Rome: “Panem et Circenses”, except we got more of the first than the latter…

  2. I used to work in the industry and know exactly what you are talking about here. I trained as a commercial cook and HATED the industry and left it without a glance back as soon as I could. Aside from long and hard hours the conditions are horrific and bosses are notoriously horrible. I worked my ass off and they didn’t deserve my loyalty to be honest…anyway, aside from that, I eat as ethically as I can. I can’t afford (as a penniless hippy student) to go out to eat and I am vegan. We raise our own chickens (for Steve) and we do our best to choose ethically. The ONLY restaurants/cafes that are doing well in this tough economic downturn are the fast food industries (read cheap over quality) where business is booming. It would seem that people would rather sacrifice quality for quick, cheap garbage. A sad indictment of our present day human condition indeed!

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