Review: FOOD, INC.

foodincposterIf there is any truth to the saying “you are what you eat”, then the USA is in big trouble. You don’t have to be a doctor, farmer or a nutritionist to see that way too many Americans are fat.

Not big boned.

Not with glandular problems.

Not with genetic predispositions.

Just fat, plain and simple.

Lest you think I am some vegetarian, B.M.I. obsessed, granola guerilla; no I am an ordinary American omnivore who is also overweight. Not obesely, but losing 20 pounds wouldn’t hurt me in the least. But, like trying to buy clothing that has no connection to Asian sweatshops or any product not directly connected to oil; finding wholesome foods that are delicious and nutritious is difficult.

And don’t even think about trying to avoid corn in your diet. If Food, Inc. is correct, it seems like virtually everything you can put in your mouth, somewhere along the line was mixed with, improved by or made from some chemical rearrangement of corn molecules. After seeing the documentary Food, Inc. if you are planning to go to dinner, you may find your appetite suppressed or at the very least, you will reconsider your choice of restaurants.

Food, Inc., from writer/director Robert Kenner, is a documentary that looks at the huge corporate run food industry and how, through a series of small, not even necessarily conscious steps, they have become purveyors of cheap food that is no longer wholesome, nutritious or even tasty, and how the big food corporations are now making more money than they ever have before at any time. But the real price is paid by us, the consumers. We pay for it in a significantly greater risk of food borne illness and in generally poor health from crappy products that are way too high in fat, sugar and salt.

Now, anyone familiar with Eric Schlosser’s book Fast Food Nation or Michael Pollan’s book The Omnivore’s Dilemma is already familiar with many of the arguments put forth in Food, Inc. Both Eric Schlosser and to a larger extent, Michael Pollan were consultants on the making of this film and they appear in on screen interviews as well, but reading about the unsanitary conditions chickens are raised in is one thing; actually seeing them is another.

Food, Inc. makes the point that if you only look at the picture labels of food items in the supermarket and take them at face value, you would think that your bread, meat, cereals and dairy products are all made on small farms by happy wholesome farmers. Food, Inc. shatters that delusion absolutely, completely and totally. Unless you actually buy you food from a farmer directly at his farm or roadside stand, you are getting over-processed crap from huge conglomerates who make more money now than at any time in American history, yet they are providing us consumers with more shit (literally in many cases) than at any other time.


The big food conglomerates all say that the public have irrational ideas about where their food comes from and that’s why they don’t want anyone to see how they actually raise the crops and animals that feed us and they are right. If people saw the truth about where what they were putting into their mouths came from, there would be riots. Food, Inc. tries to show us that truth and it is hard to swallow, even though director Kenner presents his material in a calm and straightforward manner.

I was particularly disturbed by a sequence where a meat processing company, in order to cut down on e-coli bacteria in their product mixed their meat with another product that was simply ground beef and bleach, yes bleach, combined with beef to kill the bacteria. This made more sense to the food company than finding a way to cut down on the amount of cow feces mixed into the beef to begin with. Something is definitely wrong when my hamburger has to be mixed with Clorox to be safe.

Contrary to what the food conglomerates think, there is no mental disconnect between the public knowing that the cows and chickens raised on farms for food are going to be killed, but no reasonable person wants to see any individual animals suffer unnecessarily. Seeing these big food conglomerates penning up animals hoof deep in their own excrement, chickens packed to the point of suffocation and force fed vitamins and anti-biotics to make them grow abnormally fast and large and don’t even think about the pigs, they seem to get the worst treatment of all.

In the case of beef, it is almost a complete monopsony. Since McDonald’s is probably the single largest purchaser of beef in the USA (maybe the world) as the single buyer, they pretty much have control of the market. Therefore, they can demand that anyone who sells them beef conform to their standards for meat. What’s good about this is it makes for a uniform product. What’s bad about this is it makes for a uniformly bad product. This is why a Big Mac tastes exactly the same in California as it does in New Jersey. I for one don’t think that’s a positive outcome.

But Food, Inc. is not just a lecture on the horrors in hamburger. The film actually provides you with some options on better eating that are easy to follow and can make you feel empowered. We don’t have to be passive consumers, there are things we as individuals can do to make sure we get the good food we deserve. But there are some moments in Food, Inc. that are truly sickening and I don’t mean the shots of sick “downer cows” being ground up into Big Mac meat or the deformed chickens who can’t even stand because of their unnaturally large breasts, no the moments that are the most sickening come from the all too human food industry Public Relations douche bags.

Hearing their convoluted double-talk about how the conglomerates well funded attempts to fight having to label where their food products actually come from or whether they have been irradiated or have been genetically modified and how all of this is really just the food companies fighting for your right as a consumer to choose, is more nauseating than a mouthful of fecal contaminated cow slurry.

These numb-nuts think we are all stupid. Let’s show them we aren’t.

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