Saturday, June 20, 2009

Food, Inc.--If You Eat, Watch This Documentary!

What's the truth about the food we eat?

It's sad to think that my family has to even ask this question, but most of the food on our plate does not come from our garden. Most of the food on any given plate in the US has traveled at least 1500 miles. According to Food, Inc., the documentary, that is. The movie opens with the statement that our food has changed more in the last 50 years than the last several thousand years. Eek.

In Food, Inc. filmmaker Robert Kenner "exposes America's industrialized food system and its effect on our environment, health, economy and workers' rights," Food, Inc. official website.

Not only does the film expose the American food system, but its website offers suggestions for how we can make a difference. Learn about:

  • "Healthy Eating: 30 million Americans are obese. High calorie, sugar laden processed foods coupled with our sedentary lifestyles is growing our waistlines and contributing to serious health issues like diabetes, heart ailments and cancers.
  • Pesticides: Cancers, autism and neurological disorders are associated with the use of pesticides especially amongst farm workers and their communities. Learn about what pesticides are in your food and their effects.
  • Foodbourne Illness: In Food, Inc. we meet Barbara Kowalcyk, whose 4 year old son died from E.coli poisoning after eating a hamburger. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 76 million Americans are sickened, 325,000 are hospitalized and 5,000 die each year from foodborne illnesses.
  • Factory Farming: Approximately 10 billion animals (chickens, cattle, hogs, ducks, turkeys, lambs and sheep) are raised and killed in the US annually. Nearly all of them are raised on factory farms under inhumane conditions. These industrial farms are also dangerous for their workers, pollute surrounding communities, are unsafe to our food system and contribute significantly to global warming.
  • Farm Worker Protection: Workers are fighting for social justice in labor laws, access to drinking water, health care, housing and economic development.
  • Environmental Impact: Did you know that the average food product travels about 1,500 miles to get to your grocery store? And that transporting food accounts for 30,800 tons of greenhouse gas emissions every year?
  • Cloning: In January 2008, the FDA approved the sale of meat and milk from cloned livestock, despite the fact that Congress voted twice in 2007 to delay FDA's decision on cloned animals until additional safety and economic studies could be completed.
  • Genetic Engineering: Some of our most important staple foods have been fundamentally altered, and genetically engineered meat and produce have already invaded our grocery stores and our kitchen pantries.
  • Nutritional Labels: Ever wondered how many calories are in your restaurant food? Most restaurants don’t list the actual nutritional value of their food. Listing calories on menus in chain restaurants is an easy way to educate consumers about calorie content to help them make the healthiest choice.
To see the movie on time yesterday, my husband and I skipped lunch. As we walked out of the theater, hungry but full of new information, we wondered where to go and what to eat. We stepped outside into the hustle and bustle of D.C. and threw up our arms. As we walked, we happened to pass a little storefront called Organic To Go. We peeked inside and found a small selection of packaged, organic food and a medium-sized, fresh salad bar.

As we talked over quinoa, chips and pumpkin seeds, I asked Jeff if Food, Inc. inspired him. He gave me an answer I was not expecting. Not only did it inspire him to think about making better food choices, it inspired him to think about campaign finance. How does that have anything to do with food, you ask?

What you watch for an hour and a half is a little about everything involved in our food system, including how politics and capitalism have influenced the food being produced and sold.

I highly recommend this film to everybody. I learned a lot from it--from singular facts to the big picture. I consider myself a fairly educated consumer, and I still learned a lot from watching Food, Inc. and I hope you do, too.


流浪汉 瑜伽 Yoga Tramp said...

nice blog n thk for sharin

amy said...

I have really been wanting to see this. Unfortunately its not playing anywhere in Utah. Any idea when the DVD comes out?

Better Living Through Simplicity said...

I saw this movie and was pleasantly surprised! I was expecting the presentation of selective facts now common of (agenda driven) documentaries. Instead this documentary was very even keeled. Unlike movies like "Super-size Me" it didn't make me feel guilty about the way I ate, instead it just pointed out how my (ignorant) food choices have dictated the direction the food industry has headed and what I can do to change it.

Just one note: I will still eat meat after seeing this film, but I will scrutinize how the animal is raised. (The movie is not pro or anti meat)

BTW reviewed it 95% (which means very good for those unfamiliar.)

Lexy B. said...

Thanks for sharing. I have yet to see Food, Inc. I've heard much about it and from what I've heard (and read) it seems that this is the kind of engaging "wake-up call" that many of us need. I have to check and see if it's playing around here. I'd love to watch it.