Have you ever wanted to know where the beef in your burger came from? Many have explained this to us at one time or another, but director Robert Kenner’s Food Inc. shows you a closer look into how all the meat, corn, and soybeans in the United States makes it into your homes.
In a world where fast food and low-carb snacks dominate our diets, factories run day and night to process meats and corn into hormone-infused patties, reminiscent of soilent green, and artificial sweeteners respectively. Not only do you see the dark side of the food industry, but also a tour of the all-natural farms that raise livestock on a grass diet.
Food Inc. starts out as a direct attack at meat distributors, which isn’t really one-sided once you watch the first 15 minutes. The argument is that much of our livestock end up being mistreated or genetically modified to produce more meat. Some of the companies accused of this, such as Monsanto, Smithfield, and Tyson, all had the opportunity to comment on camera. None of them stepped forward to deny or confirm the evidence and testimony from various farmers that were interviewed. Then we’re taken to another abused food product: corn. First, we use to eat it by the ear, now it’s become the main ingredient for 98% of the foods sold in the supermarket. Many know that artificial sweeteners can contribute to cancer, but putting cows on a corn-based diet created nasty forms of e-coli in some beef after workers getting cut or sick on the assembly line.
From that we’re shown the consumer side of food safety, where you meet families that struggle to make the right choices or sometimes fall victim to lack of oversight. One of the saddest is when Monsanto began suing farmers for patent infringement. They modified their soybeans so they could catch people selling their seeds without permission. One minor problem: those next door to Monsanto’s fields would have their plants pollinated with the modified seeds and show up during lab tests. This led to farmers either going into bankruptcy or settling out of court for a job with the company.
What has long been regarded as a noble and profitable career has changed into a financial form of slavery for middle and lower class communities, with both the meat and vegetable corporations running similar operations. Food Inc. does cover the use of illegal labor with certain factories, but focuses more on the small, rural communities that depend solely on one industry for employment. In these towns, local cops and immigration officers raid house to round up undocumented works, but none of the meat company’s managers get charged. Not even every illegal is taken away for their homes either. As the documentary draws to a close, you’re left with even more questions than the narrators answered.
Food Inc. is definitely worth watching whether you’re the healthy-eating type or not. Many of the arguments made have been repeated over the years, but this is one of the best in-depth investigations into the foods we consume, whether if it’s ready to eat or you cook it yourself at home. Food Inc. is an amazing documentary with thoughtful solutions to pass on. I highly reccomend you seek out the DVD and give it a good watch!
If you’ve seen it already I’d love to know your thoughts. Post em’ below.