Food Inc: The Industrial Food System Exposed

The "bigger, faster, cheaper" imperative driving the U.S. industrial food system is undermining public health and safety, according to this film.

| April/May 2010

“The way we eat has changed more in the last 50 years than in the previous 10,000,” says food issues expert Michael Pollan in the opening scene of Food, Inc., a thought-provoking film (now on DVD) about the state of the U.S. food industry. Though hard to stomach at times, it paints a compelling picture of the issues swirling around our modern industrial food system.

Food, Inc. looks at the corporate control of farmers, regulators and our freedom of speech. It looks at the farm bill and agricultural subsidies, the engineering and patenting of our food, and the current state of food safety in our country. Hidden cameras capture the innards of broiler barns and slaughterhouses. It presents a stark contrast to the beautiful agrarian imagery often used to sell food.

The film builds its story based on interviews with Pollan (author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma and In Defense of Food), Eric Schlosser (author of Fast Food Nation), and a range of farmers from large-scale industrial producers to small-farm revolutionaries such as Joel Salatin (read Everything He Wants to Do Is Illegal.) “Why is it you can buy a double cheeseburger at McDonald’s for 99 cents,” Pollan asks, “and you can’t even get a head of broccoli for 99 cents?”

“Everything we’ve done in modern industrial agriculture is to grow it faster, fatter, bigger, cheaper,” says Salatin. “Nobody is thinking about E. coli and type 2 diabetes, and the ecological health of the whole system. We are willing to subsidize the food system to create the mystique of cheap food when it is actually very expensive food. When you add up the environmental costs, societal costs [and] health costs, the industrial food is not honest food. It is not priced honestly, it is not produced honestly, it is not processed honestly.”

Learn more about the movie or purchase a copy at Hungry for Change.

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