Last night Eric and I watched Food Inc. I have been meaning to see it forever now and I finally got a chance to watch it after getting caught up on my orders.
Here is a bit about the movie:
"In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that has been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government’s regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, herbicide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won’t go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli—the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults." [Source]
One of the main messages from this film is to educate yourself where your food comes from. It is not as simple as it seems either. The government and giant food companies work very hard so that we have no idea what happened to the food before it got to our plate. Robert Kenner did an amazing job at uncovering the veil that has been placed in front of us for so long.
The movie was just as I expected it would be:
Incredibly thought-provoking, horrifying, sad, emotional…yet inspiring.
Eric and I both teared up at a few parts in the film. At a couple points, I actually thought I might burst into tears and never stop crying. It was pretty overwhelming I will admit.
I actually didn’t know if I would be able to watch it because some of the parts are quite graphic. I had to turn away when they were showing the slaughter of the chickens and cows. The windowless, extremely overcrowded, and unsanitary chicken slaughter houses horrified me. I mean I knew they existed, but actually seeing one was just disturbing. Factory animals often spend their entire lives knee-deep in their own feces. It never occurred to me why there are so many E-coli outbreaks in our food system- well, the factory animals are often covered head to toe in their feces and it is impossible to fully remove the feces from the animal. So the feces end up in our food system. On our dinner plates. The feces also leak into the waterways and contaminate other vegetables like spinach. Pretty disturbing, isn’t it?
I found myself holding my breath at many parts in the movie and I noticed that I was quite anxious while watching it. It is one of those movies that you know you need to watch, but at the same time you know that you are going to have negative emotions while doing so. It is extremely depressing to think about what our food industry has turned into.
Here are some of the important issues touched on by the film:
- Approximately 10 billion animals (chickens, cattle, hogs, ducks, turkeys, lambs and sheep) are raised and killed in the US annually. Nearly all of them are raised on factory farms under inhumane conditions. These industrial farms are also dangerous for their workers (they frequently get infections), pollute surrounding communities (manure, anyone?), are unsafe to our food system and contribute significantly to global warming.
- The average food product travels about 1,500 miles to get to your grocery store. Transporting food accounts for 30,800 tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year.
- In January 2008, the FDA approved the sale of meat and milk from cloned livestock, despite the fact that Congress voted twice in 2007 to delay FDA’s decision on cloned animals until additional safety and economic studies could be completed
- Cancers, autism and neurological disorders are associated with the use of pesticides especially amongst farm workers and their communities.
- Some of our most important staple foods have been fundamentally altered, and genetically engineered meat and produce have already invaded our grocery stores and our kitchen pantries. Today, 45% of U.S. corn and 85% of U.S. soybeans are genetically engineered under a government-regulated system. In the 2008 election cycle, the food industry donated $65 million to candidates for federal office.
There is really so much more to this movie that I don’t have time to touch on, so you really should go see it if you haven’t already done so.
This movie also left me hungry for Canadian statistics. I would love to find out more information about how Canadian factories operate. If anyone has any information on this, I would greatly appreciate it if you could point me in the right direction.
But the movie also gave me hope! We have the power to change this system now more than ever!!!
The Food Inc Website also provides some great tips on how we can make a difference in the system:
It is important to note that the movie is not saying you have to go vegetarian to make a difference. If you can even reduce the meat you eat by one meal a week, you are making a HUGE, huge, huge impact on the food industry. If you choose organic meat, you are making a huge impact. You can make small changes each and every day that add up into something big.
I was asked last night on Twitter how the movie impacted the way I felt about the food that I eat. I simply said that it completely solidified my decision to eat a vegan diet. For myself, eating a vegan diet is my way of saying to the ‘system’ that we deserve better. The environment deserves better, the animals deserve better, and society deserves better. It also made me realize that organic is definitely worth it. For the past several months, we have not been buying much organic produce for cost-reasons, but the movie reminded me why it is important to vote for organic food. If it means that we will have to make other cut-backs in our lives, then so be it. I am going to try to buy organic whenever I can afford to do so to have my say in the system. I am also going to make more of an effort to buy locally.
As consumers, we have the power to influence the market. If there is a demand for organic, sustainable, and plant-based products- the super companies will deliver. Wal-Mart now carries many organic products because there is a demand for it. Don’t be fooled, I personally don’t think Wal-Mart cares about its’ consumers…but it is all about the bottom dollar for these super companies. If we demand it they will produce it.
I loved this take-home message:
Every time you eat, you are voting for the type of food that you want to see on the store shelves.
I really think everyone should watch this movie. It will change your life forever.
You can also download a postcard to help spread the message around the world!
Have you seen Food Inc.? What were your thoughts? Did it change how you ate or how you viewed the food industry?