Technological Safeguards for the U.S. Food Supply: Moral and Ethical Dilemmas

Safeguarding the American food supply through actions that improve food safety, security, and defense (FSSD) appears — at first glance — to be an objective without contention. True, there will always be priorities to be set, and trade-offs to be made, especially given limited and dwindling budgets. That said, the imperative to provide readily available food, at a reasonable cost, and free from pathogen and toxin contamination — whether intentional or unintentional — seems obvious. While technological solutions to FSSD problems abound, large-scale adoption and widespread diffusion of these often depends on ease of use, cost-benefit calculations, and effective marketing. Meanwhile, implementation decisions typically are made by the individuals or groups that bear the costs, even if that sector does not benefit directly from the technology.