Globalization in action: Some locally-caught seafood is now being shipped to China for processing and then back to the Northwest for sale. This saves on labor costs — labor is a fifth to a tenth as costly in China as it is here — but massively increases the amount of energy consumed.

For the most part, I prefer to buy food that’s grown or caught locally. But sending locally-caught seafood on an 8,000 mile journey in search of cheap labor definitely strains the definition of “local”.

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But as long as international markets remain open, transportation remains cheap, and disparities in international labor costs remain wide, we’re likely to see more and more of this sort of thing. Which means, unfortunately, that green-minded consumers may have to remain vigilant not just about where their food is grown, but also where it’s processed.

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