They way humans eat has changed more in the last fifty years than in the previous 10,000. The film Food, Inc. sheds a ghastly light on corporate farming and the industrialization of the food industry. It uses several perspectives ranging from a chicken farmer that is cutting ties with oppressive Perdue, to inside the very plants that chemically treat massive amounts of meat to illustrate just how unnatural and dangerous today’s food can be. The movie is devided into three main segments.
The first focuses on the inhumane production of meat, including beef, chicken, and pork. Not only are animals treated inhumanely, the mass production of farm animals has had an enormous and negative impact on our environment from pesticide runoff to increased number of cattle emitting poisonous, ozone-depleting gas. The conglomerate companies care even less of the people they employ. The film mentions how Upton Sinclair’s ‘The Jungle’ changed the workplace forever, creating safer environments for workers and the formation of unions.
The companies have regressed the workplace hundreds of years by hiring illegal immigrants that will tolerate shoddy conditions and low pay just to be allowed to work there. The second portion of the movie focuses on the industrial production of grains and vegetables, primarily corn and soy. Focusing on these two grains makes a large portion of food available contain only corn. Also, it is so cheap and readily available that once grass-fed cattle and other farm animals are fed only corn. This corn diet leads to e-coli infections in the animals and, in turn, infects humans and can lead to death.
All to lower the cost and increase production. The film’s third and final segment is about the economic and legal power, such as food labeling regulations of the major food companies, the profits of which are based on supplying cheap but contaminated food, the heavy use of petroleum-based chemicals (largely pesticides and fertilizers), and the promotion of unhealthy food consumption habits by the American public. The most alarming part about this is the government that regulates these companies is in fact dominated by them. There is, however, hope.
Although one feels like they can’t have an impact on changing things, every time we buy something at the super market, we cast a vote to buy organic or buy industrial. In the history of America, industrialization has changed everything about the way we live. From steel, to factories and labor, and the very food we eat. All of these changes have effected how things are established and managed. Schools become assembly lines, and farms become based on production as opposed to quality. Food, Inc. also mentions the novel “The Jungle” by Upton Sinclair.
This novel portrays the lives of immigrants working in meat packing plants. Readers were so concerned for the conditions portrayed in the book that a movement for worker’s rights began to form. Sinclair was known as a muckracker , or a journalist who exposes corruption in government or business. These movements took place around 1902, and changed the workplace to this very day. To see a movie that exposes the very conditions that changed over one hundred years ago still happening is a harsh awakening. The movie Food, Inc.
has opened my eyes to how I contribute to the problem. I have learned that even drinking a single soda or a bag of chips encourages the growth of genetically modified corn, and hurts the type of farmer that could provide sustainable and healthy alternatives. This movie begs the question: what can I do about any of this? It feels too big to be able to contribute to a solution, but I have learned that it is possible. Buying from a green market and helping to support local farmers is a great way to help. Another would be to never eat fast food again, without any exceptions.