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Food Inc. Review

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Food Inc

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.

When the chickens are being transported to the plant, all the ones that make it, whether sick, filthy, or injured, get processed through the plant.

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 -

Thoughts, Comments, Questions…

Ashlee Jennings
About Ashlee Jennings (4 Posts)

Ashlee Jennings is a full time student at Lane Community College in Eugene, OR. She is working on completing a Sustainability Coordinator certificate program as well as an Associate of Applied Science degree. From there she will continue on to the University of California Santa Cruz where she will pursue a B.A. in Environmental Studies and go on to work in Ecotourism. She recently completed an internship at a conservation center in Ecuador last summer that focused on protection of the Amazon Rainforest.


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39 Comments on “Food Inc. Review

  1. I have a question, Do you think that the government should lable all GM food with a lable, why or why not?

  2. I have heard of such things going around in the food industries, however, i was not aware of these disastrous things going there. This is a serious issue and i think we all need to raise voice against this to protect our environment and our healths.

  3. I just watched this movie last week, I wasn't too shocked at some of the material but the Monsanto segment got me so heated! It is ridiculous that these huge farms cannot save seeds. One thing that we are focusing on is sustainable seafood, which wasn't discussed in the movie but it is a big issue with little to no regulation. Great post! -LaurenSave Our Shoreshttp://saveourshores.blogspot.com

  4. Very nice article. Perhaps you also want to share this on our forum: It's a forum to discuss the problems our planet is facing (in all areas you can think of, like racism, hunger, pollution, global warming, slavery, oppression of women, education, water shortage, etc. etc.) and possible solutions. Please come and join us!

  5. I'm getting ready to watch this film. I'm excited. I'm hoping it's as good as I think it will be! :)

  6. For the question from KimberlyBaseball12: I think GM foods should be labled because people have a right to know what they are eating. Here in Europe all GM food must be labled (in the EU). I live in Switzerland where GM food is totally banned, despite the fact that some Swiss companies and universities are at the cutting edge of GMO research.

  7. I agree. I think all GM food should be labeled, and I think that we should all start consuming organic food. We deserve to know what we are eating, and to eat what is healthier.Three years ago in Washington some people gave me a video and some pictures about how chickens and pigs were tortured and slaughtered and it was so tragic to see how these creatures were tortured. I won't say I am turning into a veggie now because I enjoy steak, but it was an eyeopener that struck me for a while. And it reminded me of the case of the food chain KFC where chicken were being tortured before they were killed.Just one more question. Does someone knows why organic fruits and vegetables tends to have a better flavor?

    • Organic fruits and vegetables tend to have a better taste because you get the true essence and purpose of the produce. Many fruits and vegetables are altered for size as well as taste. It's actually mostly psychological when it comes to natural ingredients. Your body may be used to highly altered produce and so when it tastes organic or naturally grown foods, it realizes it's something new and different but that it is what food should taste like. I hope i answered your question.

  8. I wonder how to achieve collective support like for something really deep like the Supreme Court's ruling to give corporations the status of natural persons. This shocking decision extends basic constitutional rights like free speech (unlimited dollars=speech) to Monsanto, MacDonald's, Exxon, and foreign corporations. It is the end of democracy and affects simply everything. What needs to happen is for everyone to take a stand and reverse the decision as soon as possible. For those of us who don't watch television, we can expect to avoid some of the worst mega-multimillion dollar corporate advertising campaigns; however, newspapers, magazines, radio, and billboards will show the political campaigns they'll be running, we'll all get more robo-calls, and worse. Genetically modified seed drift has already closed down many smaller-than-factory-farm-sized independent organic farming operations. How will voters make their decisions on resolutions and bills in a climate of unlimited direct contributions from corporations to political campaigns? I like that some individuals with a lot of media clout, like Darryl Hannah, and groups like U.S.P.I.R.G. recognize the connectedness of all environmental issues. That is how it really is. What those of us who are awake must do, I believe, is work cooperatively as a collective of people and organizations saying that corporate influence in government and food production has gotten out of hand. We need to take back our nation. This is the big one. For more information visit http://eco-logic-action.blogspot.com/

  9. This is a really good post that gives some great information on a highly controversial topic. I know that having the antibiotics in animals food and genetically mutated animals is a health risk but what about the fact that if America stopped producing food at the rate that it does that there is a possibility of there not being enough food. Also if factories did not add antibiotics to animals food they could be sick therefore making the food inedible and making the farm loose money.

  10. The inputs for factory farming are extreme, and the real or 'environmental' economics of concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) reveal quite output balance. The factory farm system is heavily subsidized and given special treatment in other ways (prior corporate employees on the Supreme Court, etc.). The high number of animals who show a natural response to intensive confinement, drugs, beatings, and shocks are a typical loss of that system. There is nothing natural or healthy about food produced by factory farms. The pain and unimaginable suffering of the thinking, feeling beings (think of your cat or dog, no different in sentience from a cow, pig, chicken, or turkey) confined in CAFOs is also ingested. Animals in these horrible places are mostly ill and insane due to the conditions. Does it not strike you as alarming to be eating insane and sick animals?If nothing else compels you to reform the factory farm system, the mere fact that the facilities are not open to the public and do not allow cameras or have windows should alert you to the fact that something is very wrong with the mainstream food system in America. With corporate personhood now, you can expect to be brainwashed many times over the past (already high) levels with ads lying about what is really going on in food production facilities.

    • Mayla — You bring up many good points!! Most animals on most American farms live and die in appalling conditions. The truth is actually so horrendous that many people don’t want to acknowledge it. But facts remain the same whether or not they make us feel queasy.

  11. I believe that factory farms are taking over what we know as normal farms today. With their poor working conditions to the way they treat the animals it just isn't right. And that is not how we should think of farms. Farms were how America built its economy back when the first settlers came. Farmers should use habitual ways to create the food we eat, not the ways these factory farmers are doing.

  12. I'm so glad you posted this — it reminded me that I need to watch Food Inc. One thing I always found ridiculous about the current healthcare debates is the fact that we could easily improve our health just by reforming our food system. The food industry is really messed up now, but even small reforms would help tremendously, such as banning Trans Fat and artificial colors.

  13. hi would you please spend a few minutes of your time and read my blog. I have been raising more than 50 breeds of chickens for 40 years.

  14. *sighs*., this blog really speaks of the truth. It seems like that even the food that we eat are not reliable anymore. It is sad to know that people are using their knowledge in Science for their own benefit only. Thank you for posting this blog. This sure can alarm anyone. hehe. Anyways, if you don't mind please visit our website too uchiha clan and if it won't be a bother, you can also leave some comments. :D Many Thanks and God Bless.! :D

  15. Thank you Ashlee, this is a fantastic article. Keep up the good job.

  16. Great post as usual Ashlee. One great way to offset your carbon footprint is to buy carbon offset credits =)

  17. Have you ever watched the HBO TV series by Penn and Teller Called Bull: The Organicsons Did you know it is impossible to feed the 7 billion people of the world if you go completely organic? We won't even be able to feed 4 billion. So most will starve and food prices go up. And if you go organic you can possibly be getting your food from China and we all know they are trying to poison us, so that should make it easier for them. I agree we need to be careful with GMOs and chemicals. Cancer touches everyone and I have no doubt it is from chemicals. What is the answer? Even what they consider "organic" has some kind of chemical make up that in some cases is worse than the alternative. Is the answer having less children? Maybe? Who knows but look at all sides of an issue. It isn't as simple as going all organic. How are you going to feed everyone? Of course America needs to go on a diet anyway. Maybe this will help the obesity pandemic.

  18. Thanks to blogs like yours this info will get out there to people who don't know. Keep up the good work.

  19. Ashlee, great summary of the issues. You recognize very important connections between food and current global issues. There are serious systematic standards that we have helped vote in place that perpetuate inequality and injustice! Food Inc. is a great source to increase awareness and show that our purchases will either keep the strong forces in place, or they will pressure these forces to change. American standards must be reformulated! The choices that we make concerning food not only directly impact the quality of our own lives, but shape the lives of people around the world. It is so important to support the local organic farmer, whenever possible. (Ideally this should mean starting your own garden!) Also, we should recognize that organic products also have qualities that we should be weary about…for example, organics can easily be mass-produced, which upholds issues such as unempoloyment and land accumulation.Anyways, I believe that you can taste the difference between fruit that has grown in unhealthy conditions and fresh fruit that was grown nearby, with care. I was recently in Argentina and I could tell a huge difference in the taste of grass-fed cows, compared to the meat that is practically manufactured in the United States. Nevertheless, regardless of the location, it is clear that local farmers provide an irreplaceable product and must be supported.Food Inc. demonstrates how the food system links the corners of the globe, and we need to make sure we are aware of our role in this relationship. Thank you for your review again Ashlee!

  20. I was really alarmed when I first heard of this. I'm glad that the word is out and hopefully this would put a stop to their practices.

    • eye opener…. your mamas an eye opener when I…. well you know

  21. I think this video is complete bull shit and their facts are not straight at all. Just ask a farmer.

    •  I think you’re just scared of the truth. You know now what you’re eating, and you realise how corrupt America is, do you talk trash about the video which is all facts, you could probably go to the makers website or something and look up all their sources for this video. And also did you even WATCH it? They can’t make up a clip with 2,000 pigs getting crushed to death. Now get off of here with your nonsense.

  22. FUCK GOVERNMENT. FUCK MCDONALDS. What country do I live in again? Ah I remember! I live in a FUCKED up country who’s own government doesn’t have the balls to say what’s right and wrong. I live in a FUCKED up country where media focuses on a celebrity’s death caused by drugs rather than mentioning the names who died in a war. I live in a FUCKED up country where people are legally stripped of their individual rights. I live in a FUCKED up country filled with FUCKING liars and hypocrites. Packing up my shit and moving to ENGLAND. Organic is cheap in England.

    • Epic response. Now bitch get back in the kitchen and cook me some dinner!

  23. That is a great tip especially to those new to the blogosphere.

    Short but very precise information… Many thanks for sharing this
    one. A must read post!

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