Wednesday, February 10, 2010

"Food, Inc." Thoughts

The posters advertising the documentary, "Food, Inc.", show a picture of a cow with a large upc symbol on its side. "You'll never look at dinner the same way again" it promises.

Ever since viewing the French documentary on Monsanto (click here for link to view online), I've been interested in our source of food. If you eat (we all need to) and particularly if you prepare food for others (families, children, etc.), then you need to know how food is grown, brought to market, etc.

I encourage people to watch "Food, Inc." on their own. Even if you borrow it from the library like I did, WATCH IT! It is indeed a must-see film.

I want to highlight some things I saw, heard and read while watching the "Food, Inc." documentary. The film is directed by Robert Kenner. There are some rather interesting things to note about America's meat and plant based food industry. You decide what you think.

You will hear Eric Schlosser, author of "Fast Food Nation" and Michael Pollan, author of "The Omnivore's Dilemma" in the documentary and others with experience to know what they are talking about.


What we believe about how and where our food comes from are obviously two different things if you buy your food in a supermarket.

In the meat industry, farms are replaced with factories. Workers have many things to do in little time making injuries more common and decreasing quality of work overall.

There are a few corporations who are controlling a large part of the food industry.

Industry food really came from fast food demands. The kitchens of fast food brought the factory like atmosphere into the food preparations. They also needed food that tasted the same, looked the same, and was cheap. The demands from fast food, changed how things were grown and processed. They wanted few foods, but large amounts of them to sell to their customers.

"In the 1970's, the top 5 beef packers controlled only about 25% of the market. Today, the top 4 control more than 80% of the market."

Even if you're not a fast food person, the typical person is still eating food processed in this same way.

They are "building" the animals to fit what people want. Larger chicken breasts, faster growing animals, but what is sacrificed is the animals health and the workers who process them.

These processors are setting the standards for how they want their farmers to grow the meat.

"So much of our industrial food, turns out to be clever rearrangements of corn."

It costs more to grow corn, than it does to buy it, because of subsidies. Corn not only can be used directly for food (many times in very processed forms), but also fed to animals. Cattle, pork, chickens and even fish now are being fed corn.

"The average American is eating over 200 pounds of meat per person per year. And that wouldn't be possible had we not fed them this diet of cheap grain."

"Cows are not eat corn, they are eat grass. The only reason we feed them corn is because corn is really cheap and corn makes them fat quickly."

There is a link between corn fed animals and E. Coli.

"These regulatory agencies are being controlled by the very companies that they are supposed to be scrutinizing."

The bigger the processing plants, the larger the contamination problem.

FDA doesn't have the power it needs to shut down the plants that have the most contamination. By reintroducing "Kevin's Law" they could.

"If you take feed lot cattle off of their corn diet, give them grass for 5 days, they will shed 80% of the E.Coli in their gut."

Meat is being washed with ammonia to kill E. Coli.

Shopping for food becomes a dollar game, trying to get as much food for less money. The problem is that many cheap foods (heavily subsidized to stay cheap) are not as nutritious as the more nutrient dense foods, like vegetables.

Corn, soy, and wheat are commodity crops and are heavily subsidized.

"One in three Americans born after 2000 will contract early onset diabetes. Among minorities, the rate will be 1 in 2."

"IN 1996, when Monsanto began selling Roundup Ready soybeans, only 2% of soybeans in the U.S. contained their patented gene. By 2008, over 90% of soybeans in the U.S. contained Monsanto's patented gene."

"...70% of processed foods in the supermarket has some genetically modified ingredient."

"The irony is that the average consumer does not feel very powerful. They think that they are the recipients of whatever industry has put out there for them to consume. Trust me it's the exact opposite."

"To eat well in this country costs more, than to eat badly."

You vote with your food dollars every day.

Buy foods in season. Buy local. Plant a garden.

Buy organic. Buy gmo free. Read labels.

Cook at home and eat together.

If you get the DVD to watch, make sure you watch the deleted scenes and other special features. There is good information in there as well. There is so much I didn't touch on at all. All worth seeing once to decide for yourself.

1 comment:

Steve said...

Kristen and I watched Food INC this past week. It is disgusting what these major companies do to our food supply. What an eye opener. It is also disgraceful that our govt agancies do to the farmers across the country.