Saturday, February 27, 2010

Food Inc. (2008)

Movie quotes:
"A culture that just views a pig as a pile of protoplasmic inanimate structure to be manipulated by whatever creative design a human can foist on that critter will probably view individuals with its community and other cultures in the community of nations with the same type of disdain and disrespect and controlling-type mentality."
- Steve (Farmer at Polyface Farms)

"Buy from companies that treat workers, animals, and the environment with respect."
- from film’s closing lines

At a glance:
Robert Kenner’s fascinating, potentially life-changing documentary pulls back the veil shielding the destructive practices of the handful of multinational corporations who control the American food industry

Our review (with spoilers):
I delayed my viewing of Food Inc. as long as I could, for quite some time, because I knew a bit about what it would reveal, and I knew it would force me to re-evaluate what me and my family eat.

No more chicken will be consumed after viewing the way most chicken are now engineered with big breasts and brittle bones – they often cannot support their own body weight. They are crowded beyond belief in warehouses with no windows.

No more beef will be consumed after realizing that a handful of major meat packers control the market, and that e-coli, which can kill quickly, can also spread efficiently because of a system that shuns diversity. The methods big business try to use to combat disease is to ‘wash’ the meat with ammonia.

Many other supermarket items are not what they appear. In America, corn is used in 90% of products sold in the grocery. Foods with salt, sugar, and fat (the three trigger items craved by an unhealthy human) are heavily subsidized, so that fruit and veggies keep going up in price, while the fast food hamburger keeps getting cheaper.

Perhaps the most tragic story was of the beautiful, healthy 2 year old boy who got e-coli from a hamburger and died 12 days later. But what also hurt me deeply was seeing what Monsanto was doing to any farmer who dared to plant a non-Monsanto soybean, or to the man who was helping these farmers clean and reuse their seeds. At the time of filming, Monsanto controlled 90% of the soybean mark with their ‘Roundup Ready’ bean (it can be sprayed with the herbicide Roundup and will carry on living while all other plants and weeds die).

Rating:  3.5 of 4

Other reviewers said:
"Like a 21st-century updating of The Jungle ... Food, Inc. is infuriating and disheartening, as it introduces us to the unpleasant verities of eating and the cynical rationalizations of those who purport to feed us."
- Philip Martin (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette)

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