According to new research personal ethics help determine the type of food that people consume.

Does the food people eat carry any weight when it comes to personal ethics? A new study says it does. Whether people like it or not the type of food people choose to buy holds moral implications that range from social welfare, animal rights and justice, and environmental sustainability. More and more consumers are concerned with where their food is coming from and who is growing it. How much land and water does it take to produce the apple they bought for lunch? Was the farmer that grew these coffee beans properly compensated? Researchers at Arizona State University are looking at the ethical implications of food production and consumption. They're also helping consumers find their way through the labyrinth of ethical choices that are involved in grocery shopping. And what are these researchers finding? Keeping an ethical mind about the food people consume helps them make better nutritional choices.

When looking at the ethics of food production researchers have to start at the source. Environmental sustainability is the first issue on the docket. While sustainability can be tricky to measure, researchers look at water and energy usages. Some people believe that buying local produce greatly reduces their carbon footprint, but depending on the variety of food, that might not hold true for all produce. Some foods are far more resource intensive than other foods and they generate more carbon during their production even if they don't need to be transported very far to be sold.

Social issues are also an issue. While buying locally means supporting local farmers, it's important to remember that before the local food movement took flight, socially conscious buyers were choosing fair trade products that were most often produced in foreign countries because it ensured that farmers were receiving fair wages and good working conditions. Truly shopping with an ethical mind means doing a lot of research and understanding where all of the products purchased come from.

The meat industry rests in it's own set of issues and controversies. The poor treatment of animals in factory farms and the negative impacts on the environment, as well as health concerns over hormones and antibiotic needs are all hot button issues. Researchers and scientists say the issue is bigger than should or shouldn't meat be consumed. As of now, the production of meat is inhumane and unbelievably unstable. The byproducts of meat production are waste and toxins that are hazardous to the health of the environment and humans alike.

Most researchers believe that people have an ethical obligation to care for their environment. By ethically making food choices people are also benefit their health. Moral views affect people on an emotional level that may have a stronger influence on human behavior than facts.