Food Inc. Review
Written by: Ashlee Jennings
Companies use false imagery in the marketing of their products such as farm houses next to green pastures that resemble the old school farming mentality. In reality, today it is more of a factory system that has been standardized and controlled by a few businesses that have monopolized the industry for their own financial gain. The expense is often of the hard working and underpaid people who keep getting sicker as a result of poor regulations and greedy business men. These people put their lives at risk; immigrants working the fields and meat packers cutting thousands of dead animals. How have we allowed a select few to claim power and authority over such a basic necessity of life such as our food? How it is to be tailor engineered (as if anything was wrong with it before)? This Food Inc. review digs deep to the roots of each of these issues and more, calling out to support organic agriculture and other ways of sustainable farming; and create justice for honest workers and consumers.
These days you rarely see meat packaged with the bone still attached. This simple tactic further disconnects consumers from where there food is coming from, how it is cultivated, and how it gets to them. Farms these days are no longer farms but mass producing factories of food. These many factories of food produce that source out to many brands are actually all owned just by a few conglomerates who control all the regulating and get all the profit while consumers suffer health problems, environmental problems, as well as societal and economic problems. Meanwhile, they don’t want us to know what they put in our food so they leave out important information so that we will keep suffering, and they will keep profiting. How is this different from Bio-warfare? GMO vs Anthrax… which is worse?
Food Inc Summary Unraveled
In the 1930′s the first Drive-In fast food chain was born, also christening America with a new factory supply system to the kitchen of a restaurant. Their main priorities were uniformity, conformity, and cheapness. They are the largest purchaser of ground beef in the U.S., as well as potatoes, pork, chicken, apples, tomatoes, and lettuce.
The top 5 beef companies in 1970 controlled about 25% of the beef industry, now, in 2009, the top 4 beef companies control +80% of the entire industry.
Chicken and other birds are grown and slaughtered at half the time as compared to 50 years ago, but are twice as large. Due to more consumers preferring white meat, they re-engineered the chicken to grow breasts twice as large. The supporting argument from one farmer was that, “Why would you grow a chicken in 3 months, if you can do it in 49 days?” in reference to farming genetically modified birds.
Out of dozens of farmers interviewed for Food Inc., only one would speak up and let a film crew record footage of the chicken farming conditions at her farm, per regulations of the company she produced for.
Food Inc. Review: Antibiotics in Chickens Transmuted into Humans…
Some chickens die regularly, most days as a result of their internal organs and bones not being able to keep up with the rapid growth of their muscles. When they get infections they are treated with antibiotics in their feed and then often become resistant. The antibiotics in the chicken’s body can be transmuted into the human body through consumption, causing allergies or stronger tolerance to antibiotics in humans as well.
Meat packing companies oppress the farmer’s power. They on average spend $500,000 on loaned money to pay for one poultry house for approximately $280,000. It would be mandatory for the farmer to keep up to current on all new equipment and technologies, or less he/she lose their contract with the company. On average, chicken farmers make about $18,000/year. That’s some discouraging math!
Big Corporations try to hide these things from us, and Food Inc. is a beacon in the direction that we should all turn our eyes and ears too, and really pay attention to what is going on with our food today. We have the right to look into our food! We have the right to know where it comes from, and what ways will it’s processing affect us, positively or negatively, because we should have the right to choose that for ourselves.
30% of America’s land is used for Corn. 100 years ago farmer’s were growing 20 bushels of corn per acre, but now farmers have figured out how to grow up to 200 bushels per acre! They are actually producing corn below the cost of production! This makes corn a popular ingredient for many products, and is used as feed for animals, but this does not mean that corn is the healthiest choice. You can find corn in products such as: ketchup, cheese, twinkies, batteries, peanut butter, cheeze-its, salad dressing, Coca Cola, jelly, sweet n low, syrup, juice, kool-aid,
charcoal, diapers, Motrin, and more .
Farmers are even using corn to feed animals that are not meant to have that kind of diet. Take cows for example, farmers feed their cows corn because it is cheaper and more efficient when you have a large amount of cows that eat grass faster than you can grow it. Human’s eat an average of 200lbs of meat per year! These cows end up developing e-coli bacteria that is acid resistant, as a result of their unusual corn diet, that can become harmful to the consumer that eats the meat from that cow. They stand ankle deep in their own feces all day and then get processed at the plant without even being cleaned off, inevitably passing the bacteria on to the food.
One woman’s child died from e-coli eating a burger and worked with lobbyists to get a measure passed that they called Kevin’s Law. Kevin’s Law gave back power to the USDA to shut down plants that consistently produce and deliver contaminated meat. 7 years after the woman’s son died she still can’t get the law passed or even get the meat company to apologize!
The Smithfield Hog Processing Plant is known for exploiting their workers. They slaughter up to 32,000 hogs a day! Their employees get infections under their nails from the bacteria in the meat of the hogs, causing them to split away from their fingers. They get covered in blood, guts, urine and feces all day. Their employers know that they can’t afford to leave and they pray on this fact to keep them in their positions.
In the 1950′s, being a meat packer was like being an auto-mechanic. It was thought of as a good job with a decent wage, benefits, and a pension plan. Now, it is the most dangerous job and employs many immigrants. Many of these immigrants were corn farmers in Mexico whose market got flooded with an influx of American corn. 1.5 million Mexican workers made their way over the border to become meat packers. These meat packers were recruited by the meat companies themselves, and shuttled in to work by company owned vans. When the government cracks down on illegal immigrants working in America, they go after the workers and not the companies that invited them to work illegally in the first place. How can we let people be trapped into that and not do anything to bring them justice?
The organic food industry is the fastest growing food commodity, and there are some big name companies that are jumping on the wagon. Large stores like WalMart have introduced organic food lines and have implemented labels that are easily seen by customers, so that they have the freedom of choice when they go to the store, do I support local, or not? Do I support organic, or not? Do I support fighting animal cruelty, or not? These options are important! Because, face it, a $1,000,000 purchase by WalMart does affect the economy, so at least they are investing in healthier means as they put more money into circulation for taxes, employment, production of goods for the whole, etc. Go Organic! It’s good for you!
2,000 years ago people gathered their seed from their crops and saved them to plant for the next year’s harvest. Today there are companies out there have have managed to control something as simple as a seed of life by putting a patent on it that can now make it illegal to gather ones own seeds due to patent infringement! This company is called Monsanto.
Monsanto is a chemical company that created agent-orange back in the Vietnam War, and also created and manufactures Round-Up. Round-Up was not only killing weeds like it was intended to do, but was also affecting farmer’s crops, so Monsanto created a Round-Up ready GMO (genetically modified) soybean seed that springs forth into life already resilient to pesticides.
Food Inc offers some even more astounding information. In 1996, 2% of U.S. soybeans contained this patented gene from Monsanto. In 2008, 90% contained Monsanto’s patented gene. 90% of U.S. soy product is genetically modified and the industry is controlled by one company! It is insanely unfair and unjust! Would we have chosen this for ourselves given the choice?
Some farmers’ crops become contaminated with this patented gene without their own knowledge or doing. Wind can carry seeds to other farms where there are no GMO seeds in circulation and they start to grow and spread right under their noses! When Monsanto finds out, they often start an investigation and the farmer’s have to prove that they are not violating Monsanto’s patent. One corn farmer was facing $25,000 in lawyer’s fees and hadn’t even had his court trial yet. Eventually he ended up settling with Monsanto because fighting it was getting to be too expensive, and often this is the case.
A measure was presented in California to label cloned foods and GMO foods as such, that was passed, but then Governor Arnold Schwarzeneger vetoed this!
Can you believe 75% of all supermarket food is GMO?!
They end the film with a positive message I would like to close with:
You can vote to change this system – Three times a day – Buy from companies that treat – Workers – Animals – And the environment – With respect – When you go to the Super Market – Choose foods that are in season – Buy foods that are organic – Know what is in your food – Read labels – Know what you buy – The average meal travels 1500 miles from the farm to the super market – Buy locally grown food – Shop at farmer’s markets – Plant a garden (even a small one) – Cook a meal with your family and eat it together – Everyone has a right to healthy food – Make sure your farmer’s market takes food stamps – Ask the school board to provide healthy lunches – The FDA and USDA are supposed to protect you and your family – Tell congress to enforce food safety standards and reintroduce Kevin’s Law – If you say grace, ask for food that will keep us, and the planet healthy – You can change the world with every bite – Hungry for change? – Go to takepart.com/foodinc -
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