- Food and Cooking
Food, Inc. A Movie About How Our Food is Made
Have you ever wondered how the food you eat is grown, raised, processed and gets to your table? Well, it isn't pretty and I agree with the subtitle of Food, Inc. - You'll Never Look at Dinner the Same Way Again. Food, Inc is a fascinating documentary about what has happened to our food in the past century. Produced by Magnolia Home Entertainment it is only 91 minutes long and could literally change your life. I hope in the process it changes the food industry too.
The nation's food industry is just that - an industry. The products might have quaint pictures of farms and farmers on it, but much of the food we eat does not actually come from farms. What used to be farms is being replaced with factories or factory-like operations. There is a deliberate curtain between us and where our food comes from.
Food, Inc "lifts the veil on the nation's food industry, exposing how 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." There are over 47,000 products in the average grocery store, but they are virtually all produced by a small handful of corporations. They have created an illusion of diversity with different brand names, but many brands are all under one company.
Much of Food, Inc. talks about how meat is raised and processed to eventually make its way to the supermarket shelves. I found it scary the way the animals are treated, how they are processed and how they are cleaned. Cattle and hogs are raised in concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs) standing ankle deep in their own manure eating food that they are not meant to eat. If they want to lie down, they lie down in their own manure too. Animals develop all sorts of illnesses because of these conditions, requiring a constant stream of antibiotics. When it comes time to slaughter the animals (including the ones that are too sick to get up) they are cleaned with ammonia (sometimes even the meat that has already been processed is cleaned with ammonia before packaging). Ammonia is a very harsh chemical that is harmful if ingested, but yet they are treating our food with it.
These CAFOs are not only bad for the animals that are housed in them, but they are bad for the environment, the ground, the rivers and streams and other foods. E Coli for instance used to only be found in beef, but now it is found in all sorts of other food items due to runoff from the CAFOs. There have been recalls of apple juice, spinach, and peanut products in recent years due to E Coli contamination.
There is much more to our damaged food supply system than just meat though. All those fancy boxes on store shelves are filled with numerous fake ingredients. Yes even the ones that say they are all natural contain ingredients like high fructose corn syrup and other fake preservatives. These things (I hesitate to call them food) technically come from corn and soy, but they have been changed so much by scientists that they are absolutely horrible for you by the time they get in your foods.
As Food, Inc. clearly points out, these food companies do not have our best interests in mind. They are in the market to make money. They want to create products as cheaply as possible (therefore shortchanging our farmers) and sell them for as much money as possible. As a nation we are becoming unhealthy and obese because we eat these things that are not really food. Frequently that is all people eat because they can't afford the fresh fruits and vegetables that our bodies really need.
A century ago we ate the food we grew or bought from farmers down the road. I know that we can't completely go back to that system, but we can try. We need to start supporting local farmers and send a message to these huge companies that we don't want their fake food. That we want real food that has been grown, raised and processed humanely and safely. If you care at all about what you eat and whether it is good for you or not, I highly recommend watching the movie Food, Inc. It is very eye opening and will hopefully change the way our food system operates. To watch a trailer for the movie, click here.