Whether consumers care or not, just about everything they eat is spiked with implications for the environment, international trade, health and the American economy.

Some people talk of how buying some foods undermines the world’s rain forests or coastlines. Others campaign to save the American family farm or improve conditions for foreign laborers. Some call for the American system of big farms and companies to get bigger and deliver ever cheaper food. Box labels and grocery shelves don’t mention the Washington fights over tariffs and subsidies, but they’re there.

In the global village of 21st century food production, it’s possible to argue the far-ranging consequences of everything from a chocolate bar to a salmon filet. However consciously, what you eat makes a political statement, says Scott Canon of Knight Ridder Newspapers.