To me, food awareness comes in many different forms. Of course food awareness varies from person to person, from religion to religion, from culture to culture—food awareness has different standards with almost every region.
The first major food awareness that comes to find has to do with allergies. Food allergies are one of the most dangerous allergies because different ingredients make up different foods. So how does one know whether that ingredient they are allergic to if presented in that dish? My friend Jason has many food allergies. Nuts are one of the most dangerous food allergen and can cause death almost instantly after a person is subjected to said product. Jason has a serious nut allergy and cannot be around the majority of nuts, which is a sad issue because nuts are so good to eat. There are many other serious allergies such as shellfish, lactose intolerance with dairy products, and even beer allergies. I am fortunate enough not to have any of these allergens, but it must be very hard for the people out there that due struggle with what they can and cannot consume.
Another food awareness stems from religious acts. Jewish folk must live by rules that revolve around kosher product, which means that the food they consume (mainly meat) must have been slaughtered or harvested in a nature, safe and friendly, manor. Most meat people consume today are manufactured in large factory farms, where the slaughtering of the animals is very gruesome. I have seen many documentaries and the individuals that work in these factory farms must kill these animals as fast as they can to meet consumer needs. Kosher product is extreme food awareness. I suppose organic foods can be talked about in this paragraph because many people are aware of what chemicals are used to make their foods edible, and many will not buy produce and meat from commercial grocery stores because so many chemicals have been used in the food to make them more appealing. Organic foods are becoming more and more popular, which means America is becoming more aware of what they are eating.
Vegetarianism and veganism is another form of food awareness. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, factory farming is a very brutal way to meet butcher demands, so the inhumane way of killing these animals has started a slew of activism, which mainly involves not eating meat at all. Some people do it for health, others do it because they simply do not like meat, but many do it for the tragic way animals are killed. My sister is a vegetarian, so my mom always has to be very aware of what she can and cannot make my sister for food. My sister also has to be aware of what she eats because she obviously does not want to be eating animals, seeing as how she has been a vegetarian for many years. I do not worry about this problem. I like meat, so I eat it. Out of sight, out of mind. Although, the only time I have to be aware of this vegetarian conflict is when I am working in the dining courts. Windsor has a vegetarian section, and whenever some kind of meat product is mixed, the entire serving has to be thrown away. Many Indian students ask what is in food because they cannot eat meat, so I have to be aware of what they ask so I am able to answer their questions accurately.