They went into this well-done documentary not knowing what to expect--and came out shocked, a little queasy, concerned, disturbed, with their heads spinning and ready to rethink meat.
But this movie is not about the evils of beef, chicken or pork! In fact--grass-fed, pasture-raised, small-farm-raised would be just fine. It's about how our whole food industry has changed for the worse since 1970--and No One Is Paying Attention.
I finally got to see the film on Sunday. That night I called my kids & said, "You have to go see this movie!"
The film's promo says it all:
You'll Never Look At Dinner The Same Way
In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA.
Our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment.
We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, herbicide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won't go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli—the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually.
We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults.
Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield's Gary Hirshberg and Polyface Farms' Joel Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising—and often shocking truths—about what we eat, how it's produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here.
David Edelstein of New York Magazine Says It Best
David's experience echoes mine 100%. Do No Miss This Movie!
"After an hour and a half of sighing, wincing, and clucking over the manifold outrages portrayed in Robert Kenner’s Food, Inc.,
I gave up the thought of “reviewing” the documentary and decided,
instead, to exhort you:
See it. Bring your kids if you have them. Bring someone else’s kids if you don’t.
The message is nothing new if you’ve read Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation or Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma (both are in the film). But every frame makes you choke on your popcorn—if for no other reason than the focus on government-underwritten corn and the companies who put it into everything from soda to Midol to the gassy, E. coli–ridden bellies of factory-farmed cows.
The sheer scale of the movie is mind-blowing—it touches on every aspect of modern life. It’s the documentary equivalent of The Matrix: It shows us how we’re living in a simulacrum (a sham--a vague likeness), fed by machines run by larger machines with names like Monsanto, Perdue, Tyson, and the handful of other corporations that make everything.
We humans can win, but we should hurry, before Monsanto makes a time machine and sends back a Terminator to get rid of Schlosser and Pollan."
A Snapshot of the Images I Will Never Forget
- The giant dark filthy foul-smelling football-field-sized chicken houses filled with 40,000 or more birds pumped up with pharmaceuticals, standing in excrement, with bodies grown unnaturally fast, and breasts so large their tiny legs can barely hold them up.
- Cattle living in giant feeding lots, packed in head to rump, pumped up with antibiotics to kill the diseases caused by being unnaturally force fed corn when they're meant to graze on grass in open fields. Meat carcasses coated with excrement that could never be sanitized enough to kill the germs they might harbor. Oh--but don't worry--now there's a company that washes hamburger with ammonium hydroxide to kill the buggers--Beef Products, Inc. (BPI)--winner of the 2004 Food Quality Award.
- The abused illegal immigrants working in deplorable dangerous meat packing plants--a new class of indentured servants--that have no choice but to keep silent about what's going on at their workplace--or risk deportation. No need to worry about unions.
- The family farmers that are no more. They are essentially factory workers, the new indentured servants, working for the 4 or 5 beef, poultry or pork industrial producers. Borrowed to the hilt, to the tune of $500,000 on average, and making about $18,000 a year.
- The chicken excrement runoff from these huge chicken houses that is polluting our fields, rivers, & streams. The Chesapeake Bay Fiasco--click here.
- The low-income families that find it more affordable to feed their families for $15.00 at McDonald's, than to buy broccoli and apples. Result: epidemic obesity & type-2 diabetes, even in kids. Saving money on food, but making it up in health care costs.
- The healthy 2 1/2 year old who died suddenly after eating an E coli-tainted hamburger while on a family vacation. The meat could have been recalled. It wasn't.
- The number of food industry execs and lawyers who end up serving in high government offices in the Department of Agriculture, the Food & Drug Administration, and the Supreme Court (Clarence Thomas-for instance). We don't stand a chance.
- Just see the movie!!
Priceless quote from Mr. Richard Lobb of the National Chicken Council: