by: Nate Furler, Marketing Specialist
Food, Inc was released this past summer (2009) and three of us from the Co-op made the venture to Madison, Wisconsin to see the movie. Michael Pollan, a well known writer and food industry analyst, brings to light once again the appalling system that many of us in the United States view as functional for producing our daily nutritional intake. The movie systematically analyzes the many different stages of food development and the problems that each current system holds for the sustainability of life on this planet. It illustrates through documentation what is really going on in our vast – yet small and compact – food system, especially within the United States.
Growing up in Iowa, many of us have fond memories of living on or visiting close knit ancestral family farms. Food Inc. changes those fond memories and moves you into the current new harsh realities where farmers are being forced to provide food faster and more economically at the risk of quality and safety to the general public. We are enticed by the economics, but at what cost to our health and safety? It is shocking to see where and from whom your food actually comes. Even though the marketing labels lead us to believe the food still comes from our close knit ancestral family farm roots, the truth is altogether different.
The mere statement that “our food system has changed more in the past fifty years than in the first ten thousand” is enough to get the mind racing. Fast and processed food has revolutionized the way and type of food we ingest. Even though you may not eat at a fast food restaurant, you are still eating meat, potatoes and other ingredients that are raised in the same way. For example, unless locally grown and you are privy to the entire story behind the cow’s production, your hamburger contains potentially thousands of bits of different cattle. On top of that, the filler in your fast food burger is treated with ammonia to “kill” harmful bacteria. Yum!
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are another hot topic. Seed genes have been patented and therefore are owned by the seed companies. Farmer Joe plants GMO seeds. Across the road, farmer Bill plants non-GMO seeds. The inevitable happens with the blowing of the wind. Cross pollination leads to patent infringement for farmer Bill and the seed company sues him and puts farmer Bill out of business. And we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface of the adverse affects the ingestion of GMOs can and will have on humans, especially children.
Growth hormones are prevalent in cows, pigs, and chickens. Meat is now being “grown” in half the time that it took 50 years ago. Naturally these hormones are now being found in the humans that consume them. I am curious if the heads of these big corporations running the system eat organic or conventional. I simply want to know if they are willing to take the same risk with their own family as they are with everyone else’s.
These points are only the tip of the iceberg that is Food, Inc. Consider it a must-see, especially if you find yourself eating out at fast food joints often. It will open your eyes to the reality of our current food system and hopefully lead to a wide reaching change for the better.