Thoughts on Food, Inc.
September 13, 2009 § 2 Comments
Last night my husband and I went to see the documentary Food, Inc. I found out it was playing at a local independent theater for just a few days and I had to see it.
Upon entering the theater, I was pleased to see about 20 – 25 people. I hope those people tell their friends and family as I am. I have to admit I felt as though I spent most of the film eyes welled up with tears. I was reminded once again how big business profits are more important than human health. Board room decisions that affect us ALL are made without the thought of future repercussions to humans, our environment, or our future. If you didn’t already know this, our nation’s food is controlled by only a few large corporations and a few key people. The film names these companies and people.
The saddest part of the film for me was a story of a mom who lost her child at 2 years of age just 12 days after eating a burger tainted with E. coli 0157:H7. She and her mom have been fighting in Washington for 6 years to get a food safety law passed named Kevin’s law in honor of her son. The law would allow the USDA to close down a factory if it had repeated orrurences of pathogen contamination. To see the full details of Kevin’s law click here.
How does E. coli get into beef to begin with? Basically, cattle are fed a diet of corn instead of being able to graze on grass. Corn is cheaper feed and it fattens the cows. The corn causes E. coli to form in the intestines. The cows then stand in their own feces because they are kept in such close quarters. When they get slaughtered and processed the meat can become tainted with E. coli. Remember the E. coli spinach recall? That was due to cow waste runoff being soaked into the ground and infecting crops.
It was hard for the filmmakers to find farmers actually willing to speak on camera and rightfully so. When you have multi-billion dollar corporations controlling everything, who would want to speak up? There was an interview with a chicken farmer who was under contract with one of the largest chicken manufacturers. She said after years of working with these chickens that have been given antibiotics, she was now allergic to all antibiotics. Unfortunately after speaking with the filmmakers, she lost her contract with that big poultry company. She said she felt in her heart it was time to speak up and I for one am so grateful that she did. It was a very brave thing she did to educate us all.
On the flip side, there was an interview with a farmer that does things right. Cows, pigs, and chickens roaming and grazing on grass. He told a story about a customer that complained that a dozen farm fresh eggs costs $4 while he was drinking a 75 cent soda! Really now? It was good to see there are still real farmers out there.
The film also talked about the power of the consumer. Consumers all but eliminated dairy products containing recombinant bovine growth hormone (rbGH) by choosing other products until companies listened. Unfortunately you can’t talk about food or food companies in this country without the possibility of being sued. We all remember the case of the Texas cattlemen vs Oprah Winfrey, right? In fact, in Georgia, South Dakota, Alabama, Florida, Idaho, Texas, Arizona, Oklahoma, Mississippi, Colorado and Louisiana it is now against the law to publicly criticize corporate food products under so-called “food disparagement” laws promoted by agriculture, chemical and biotechnology industry lobbyists. Wow, what ever happened to free speech?
We, as consumers, do have a say and essentially cast our vote EVERY time we make a food purchase. Every time you pick up organic milk instead of conventional milk you are sending a powerful message that this is what consumers want more of! Yes it’s more expensive. No you don’t have to buy all organic all the time but just those few items you choose to purchase organic is making a difference!
The end of the film gives ways you can make a difference and I’m going to list a few.
- tell people about the film
- buy more organic produce and products
- purchase meat locally from cattle or poultry farms. You can find some in your area by visiting this great website.
- purchase vegetables locally and in season where possible.
In conclusion, a very important film that you should take the time to see!