Movie News & Reviews

'Food Inc.' Appetite suppressant

After you see what IBP is doing to cattle, what Tyson is doing to chickens, what farmers are doing to us and what Monsanto is doing to farmers in the new documentary Food, Inc., you might never eat again.

Well, you won't eat at McDonald's. For a while, anyway.

Food, Inc. is about "the McDonald's food business model" — the ethos that you can raise, harvest, process and ship food via assembly line, the "industrial food system" that allows America to produce more food more cheaply than just about anywhere. As the film also notes, we have the waistlines to prove it.

Robert Kenner's documentary features disgruntled chicken farmers who stare out at the vast, crowded houses where their flocks live their short, force-fed lives.

"These chickens never see sunlight."

It documents undocumented workers manning dangerous, repetitive production lines in slaughterhouses, processing cows or chickens.

Activists including Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore's Dilemma, speak out against the practices that cause corn and cattle to so dominate our diet. Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) tries to rally people to speak out on a digestive-industrial complex that has gone so far as to legislate the right to criticize it. We have a right to know, activists say.

"Who owns it? How are they making it? Can I look in the kitchen?"

Kenner's movie doesn't break any real new ground. It just sums up everything we've heard — the increasing laxity of food inspection, the ways the industries ensure that they don't get inspected.

And, shockingly, Kenner shows us that oh-so-simple solution. When Wal-Mart buyers visit a dairy farm where the cows aren't treated with hormones, you can see the power that an informed public has. If informed consumers reject a product that they've been shown is bad for kids, even mighty Wal-Mart can be forced to change. And if Wal-Mart can change, maybe our food supply can be unincorporated and healthy for us, the animals and the Earth again.

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