Fearful Symmetries

Witness a machine turn coffee into pointless ramblings...

30 April, 2009

WFF '09 Review: Food, Inc.

In medieval England, it was said "God sends meat, but the devil sends cooks". Appropos of this was my Friday night at the Wisconsin Film Festival which ended with a showing of Food, Inc.. As the title implies, it is a look at the corporate control over America's food supply as well as a Michael Moore-like polemic against it.



The film begins with a series of clips that try to capitalize on the positive connotations we have with all things "natural" as well as appealing to our sense of nostalgia. We are told that the way we eat has changed more in the last 50 years than in the previous 10,000. Someone else pops onscreen to decry the use of agrarian imagery in selling food produced with the latest factory methods while another interviewee reminds us that the modern supermarket carries all sorts of food year-round which has disabused people of the old-time practice of eating seasonally. Finally the dichotomy of multinationally-owned factory farms vs. small, private ones is introduced.

This opening sequence established the film's style – a mix of talking heads and stock footage – as well as its rhetorical style – statistics & history blended with a heavy dose of emotional appeals.

After the introduction, Food, Inc. is split into 10 sections, each emphasizing a different aspect of the corporate food chain. "Fast Food To All Food" starts things off by blaming the rise of fast food for turning our daily bread into an industry. Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal, inveighs against the Golden Arches for introducing the factory system to food. They needed big suppliers to provide volume. Today we see the results with the pork and beef markets being dominated by a handful of companies. Chickens fair no better in this scheme. Companies like Tyson demand that the animals grow larger and quicker than in the past while the lives of the chickens themselves has become nugatory. Millions of them spend their short lives in horrible, crowded conditions where everyone's favorite white meat never sees the light of day.

I found it odd to blame McDonalds and its demand for the industrialization of the food chain. What was Upton Sinclair bitching about at the dawn of the 20th century if not a factory system that chewed up and spit out workers and the quality of the product be damned?

Over the next 80 or so minutes, Food, Inc. covers a lot of ground. Corn and the massive government subsidies the people who grow it receive gets due attention. These subsidies explain why everything has corn syrup in it these days as well as why meat is comparatively cheaper today: feeding animals corn is much more inexpensive than letting them wander a field chewing on grass or feeding them other grains. The section entitled "Unintended Consequences" notes the massive amount of pollution that factory farms create in the form of run-off as well as the inability and/or unwillingness of the USDA and FDA to do their jobs properly. It is also here that the worst of the film's emotional appeals has a home. We are introduced to a woman whose son died of e-coli poisoning and has refashioned her life as one of a food safety activist. While her attempts to lobby a Congresswomen are worthy of inclusion, the overwrought melodrama of her son's death was incredibly overdone and was a huge distraction. "Bullshit emotional appeal" are the words I wrote down during the screening.



Again, the film says a lot and it's easy to get lost amongst statistics, the terrifying tales of Monsanto lawyers, gross-out scenes (such as when the viewer witnesses hamburger meat filler being cleansed with ammonia), and the nostalgia for the days when there were actually butchers with shops on street corners. Food, Inc. is nothing if not a visceral movie. (No pun intended.) And there is a trio of points with which I took real issue.

First is the section "The Dollar Menu". We follow a family eating from Burger King's dollar menu and they tell us that they lack the time to cook and are too poor to eat well by shopping at a grocery store. The film pulls out a heavyweight - Michael Pollan, to counter the family's comments. He notes that fast food is cheaper only because the industry is heavily subsidized. The increase in Type II diabetes is also noted, the implication being all that corn syrup available at fast food joints.

I was reminded of comments by another person who has written about food, Barry Glassner. He said, "The fast-food industry deserves a lot of criticism and I level it in the book, but at the same time, to be able to get a complete or nearly complete meal for a few bucks, with distractions for the children thrown in at no extra cost, is not in itself a bad thing. And until those of us on the progressive side of the political spectrum have real alternatives in place, we'd be well advised to look at the good as well as the bad."

The movie avoided addressing the concerns of that family. All it could say in return was that fast food was bad as an industry and as food. It should be noted that at the end of the film, a list of things people could do was given and this included buying local, buying organic, and growing a garden. Good advice but good only for folks like those in the audience that night at the Orpheum: middle class people who can actually afford the prices and had the time to dedicate to a garden. If the family above can afford conventional foods, how are they supposed to be able to buy organics and/or locally grown foods which are much more expensive?

Second is a quote from a chicken farmer in the part of the film called "In the Grass". He says that, yes, we can feed the world without industrialized farming. Hand in hand with this comment is Food, Inc.'s implication that genetically altered foods are bad. The film spends an hour and a half being critical of industrialized farming but that chicken farmer's comment is the only time where it addresses whether or not the world, with a population hastily approaching 7 billion people, can be fed using small scale farming, "natural" techniques. Although skeptical, I'm willing to concede that that farmer may be right. Unfortunately all Food, Inc. does is give that lone statement before moving on to shots of pigs being led to the slaughter. When biologist E.O. Wilson spoke here a few years ago, even he conceded that genetically altered foods would probably be necessary to feed the world. He may be wrong but by simply letting one person have the be-all-end-all comment on the subject, the film really drops the ball.

The last thing in the film which got in my craw was how it dealt with nostalgia. While some of it was perfectly applicable, the overall message was that, before McDonalds food was safe and natural. The thing is, this is untrue. As I noted above, Upton Sinclair found deplorable working conditions on Chicago's killing floors as well as tainted meat. A 14th century Londoner might well have bought a pasty made with offal or found that his venison pasty really contained beef. Going back further to ancient Rome, we find that lead was used to make poor quality wine sweeter. The romantic notion that Food, Inc. purveys of a time when all food was wholesome and people didn't get sick from what they ate is pure fantasy.

Another aspect of the film's use of nostalgia involves fast food. It wants you to believe that there was this prelasparian state where everyone ate home-cooked meals or ate at nice restaurants and then fast food came along and changed drastically things for the worse. While the fast food industry of today is quite new, fast food has been with us for centuries. As Vickie L. Ziegler wrote in her essay "Fast Food in Medieval Europe":

While we generally think of fast food as a uniquely American invention of the late twentieth century, it has in fact been around since Roman times in urban settings in which there were a great many poor and /or single adults living in small rooms… Many artisans, other workers, and classes of the urban poor, such as impoverished widows, lived in single rooms, where there were no cooking facilities, not even a hearth.

Fast foods of the London of the late 13th and early 14th centuries containing wheat included pies, hot cakes, pancakes, and wafers. Meat pies and pasties were especially adaptable for ease of carrying and consumption, much like today's Big Mac.


Several hundred years ago meals ready to eat were mostly consumed by the urban poor and we know how those pasties could be a bit spotty. How little has changed with regards to fast food – it largely plays the same role today as it did centuries ago. Telling people who rely on fast food to go organic and local is not a real alternative.

Despite being very informative, Food, Inc.'s myopia lessens its impact as something which induces contemplation. It asks only those questions which can be answered with "Corporate/fast food agriculture sucks!" and doesn't compel the viewer to look at a larger picture which includes a realistic view of history and people who cannot afford to shop at Whole Foods.

Folks interested in this subject should know that Michael Pollan will be speaking here in Madison come September while the movie Sustainable Table will be playing here in November at the Tales From Planet Earth festival.
|| Palmer, 2:48 PM

30 Comments:

Thanks for what sounds like a fairly even-handed review of the movie and the premise. The funny thing is that the filmmakers (who I assume are progressives) take the same position progressives decry when they accuse the conservatives of complaining without providing real answers. There are plenty of people who can't afford to eat well now. How do they propose to feed them? Perhaps the profits from all these film and book endeavors need to go to the school lunch programs?
Anonymous Food Critic, at 12:16 PM  
Hi FC and you're welcome. Here's some links to more info on this subject:

http://powervoyeur.blogspot.com/2009/06/further-food-inc-for-thought.html

I think the filmmakers got caught up in bashing Big Ag that they didn't contemplate alternatives very thoroughly.
Blogger Palmer, at 3:06 PM  
“…It asks only those questions which can be answered with "Corporate/fast food agriculture sucks!" and doesn't compel the viewer to look at a larger picture which includes a realistic view of history and people who cannot afford to shop at Whole Foods.”

People wouldn't have to shop at Whole Foods, and the price of the food wouldn't be as expensive if it wasn't competing with something so cheap. Food shouldn't be this cheap, it's the most important things in our lives. If someone can afford to buy a pack of cigarettes for $5 every few days, they can afford a few healthy items.
Anonymous Anonymous, at 8:21 AM  
Anon - so are you saying that everyone who can't afford to shop at Whole Foods smokes? Nice job of stereotyping.

I posted some links to stories regarding this here:

http://powervoyeur.blogspot.com/2009/06/further-food-inc-for-thought.html

When you have $30/week to feed yourself, "a few healthy items" doesn't cut it. So everyone who can shop at Whole Foods is free to talk about what those who can't should do and how things should be over expensive organic coffee but that doesn't change how things are. Food, Inc doesn't address the working poor.

Taking the long view, the mass quantities of cheap food we have are a boon.
Blogger Palmer, at 9:04 AM  
I think your generalization of only middle aged people can afford to eat organics and locally grown foods is way off base.

We are a family of 8 - 2 adults and 6 children aged 10 and under. We have one income. We eat organically and local grown foods. Yes we grow a garden too and have a small flock of chickens.

We are definitely not middle aged by any means.
Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:31 AM  
Anon - you missed my point. It's not strictly one's age. Sure, a college freshman who is being bankrolled by his or her parents can surely afford to buy organic. But, in general, middle aged people are making the highest salaries that they will make in their lifetime.

My point was that it takes wealth to be able to afford organics. Sure, you only have 1 income but how much is it? One nice 6-figure income can be plenty.
Blogger Palmer, at 12:15 PM  
we have the right to know where our food comes. the fact that the corporations do not allow people into the farms and slaughter houses is a joke. people have the right to know! its sickening how these animals are raised and its morally and ethically wrong. the only reason for all this is so that the corporations (i.e. tyson, etc...) is to make more money. the line has to be drawn somewhere there is no reason for this insanity. the movie may not have all the solutions but dont go saying the only thing we can do is buy organic. this is not the answer. the answer is getting the corporations out of the government. NOT allowing the business owners to run the FDA is the solution. telling these companies that they will be shut down and sued for not providing a sanitary environment for the poeple to work in and for the animals to LIVE in. no person or animal should be subject to this! i dont know about all of you but i sure as hell will NOT eat meat that has been raised in their own fecies. and the only reason this continues is because people dont know or dont want to know but its now time for this to end..
Anonymous Anonymous, at 5:09 PM  
I agree with you that people should know about where their food comes from.

Please point out where I said that the only thing we can do is to buy organic.

I also agree that removing the influence of large corporations from the FDA is a grand idea. It's not going to happen anytime soon, but it is certainly ideal.
Blogger Palmer, at 6:44 AM  
For one to eat well, it's not a question of affordability in an economic sense, as much as an affordability of conscience. If you can eat your fast food burger in full awareness of how that animal was treated, by all means, supersize.
If you can eat GMO's, even though these so called foods have had genes from bacteria and viruses and other foreign genes implanted, stuff that has never before been in the food chain, test it on yourself.
If you don't mind that while your food is in the field, it's become a it's own pesticide, due to genetic engineering, then by all means, embrace it.
If you think that we can continue to have cut flowers from Peru and melons from Chile all year round on our store shelves, go ahead, delude yourself. But keep an eye on the price of crude.
If you think it's OK to raise vegetables and fruits that are totally lacking in nutrients due to monoculture's NPK practices, please eat yourself silly.
But don't, in any way shape or form, expect me to follow along complacently beside you. If you can't see the problems highlighted above, then please, carry on. Without me. I can't afford it.
Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:10 AM  
Anon - I'll say that "eating well" can mean different things to different people but you don't get to define it your way for everyone.

You have genes from viruses in you too. We all do:

http://www.livescience.com/health/071114-virus-genes.html

Big deal. Give me some proof that it's harmful.

Yeah, conventional produce is lacking in nutrients. Not according to Alan Dangour.

I'm glad you wrote your comment because I know that I irritated someone who can't think critically and went to Food, Inc only to have his/her beliefs reinforced on the big screen.

Why don't you comment on anything I said about the movie?

And what can't you afford? You seem to be able to afford organic, free-range everything which is significantly more expensive than conventional.
Blogger Palmer, at 3:50 PM  
Here are the citations for the above:
[23] Comments to ANZFA about Applications A346, A362 and A363 from the Food Legislation and Regulation Advisory Group (FLRAG) of the Public Health Association of Australia (PHAA) on behalf of the PHAA, "Food produced from glyphosate-tolerant canola line GT73," http://www.iher.org.au/
[24] M. Malatesta, C. Caporaloni, S. Gavaudan, M. B. Rocchi, S. Serafini, C. Tiberi, G. Gazzanelli, "Ultrastructural Morphometrical and Immunocytochemical Analyses of Hepatocyte Nuclei from Mice Fed on Genetically Modified Soybean," Cell Struct Funct. 27 (2002): 173­180.
[25] M. Malatesta, C. Tiberi, B. Baldelli, S. Battistelli, E. Manuali, M. Biggiogera, "Reversibility of Hepatocyte Nuclear Modifications in Mice Fed on Genetically Modified Soybean," Eur J Histochem, 49 (2005): 237-242.
[26] I.V. Ermakova, "Diet with the Soya Modified by Gene EPSPS CP4 Leads to Anxiety and Aggression in Rats," 14th European Congress of Psychiatry. Nice, France, March 4-8, 2006; "Genetically modified soy affects posterity: Results of Russian scientists' studies," REGNUM, October 12, 2005; http://www.regnum.ru/english/526651.html; Irina Ermakova, "Genetically modified soy leads to the decrease of weight and high mortality of rat pups of the first generation. Preliminary studies," Ecosinform 1 (2006): 4­9.
[27] Irina Ermakova, "Experimental Evidence of GMO Hazards," Presentation at Scientists for a GM Free Europe, EU Parliament, Brussels, June 12, 2007
[28] L. Vecchio et al, "Ultrastructural Analysis of Testes from Mice Fed on Genetically Modified Soybean," European Journal of Histochemistry 48, no. 4 (Oct­Dec 2004):449­454.
[29] Oliveri et al., "Temporary Depression of Transcription in Mouse Pre-implantion Embryos from Mice Fed on Genetically Modified Soybean," 48th Symposium of the Society for Histochemistry, Lake Maggiore (Italy), September 7­10, 2006.
[30] I.V. Ermakova, "Diet with the Soya Modified by Gene EPSPS CP4 Leads to Anxiety and Aggression in Rats," 14th European Congress of Psychiatry. Nice, France, March 4-8, 2006; "Genetically modified soy affects posterity: Results of Russian scientists' studies," REGNUM, October 12, 2005; http://www.regnum.ru/english/526651.html; Irina Ermakova, "Genetically modified soy leads to the decrease of weight and high mortality of rat pups of the first generation. Preliminary studies," Ecosinform 1 (2006): 4­9.
[31] "Mortality in Sheep Flocks after Grazing on Bt Cotton Fields-Warangal District, Andhra Pradesh" Report of the Preliminary Assessment, April 2006, http://www.gmwatch.org/archive2.asp?arcid=6494
[32] Mae-Wan Ho, "GM Ban Long Overdue, Dozens Ill & Five Deaths in the Philippines," ISIS Press Release, June 2, 2006; and Mae-Wan Ho and Sam Burcher, "Cows Ate GM Maize & Died," ISIS Press Release, January 13, 2004, http://www.isis.org.uk/CAGMMAD.php
[33] Personal communication with Jerry Rosman and other farmers, 2006; also reported widely in the farm press.
[34] See for example Mae-Wan Ho, "GM Ban Long Overdue, Dozens Ill & Five Deaths in the Philippines," ISIS Press Release, June 2, 2006; "Study Result Not Final, Proof Bt Corn Harmful to Farmers," BusinessWorld, 02 Mar 2004; and "Genetically Modified Crops and Illness Linked," Manila Bulletin, 04 Mar 2004.
[35] Arpad Pusztai, "Can science give us the tools for recognizing possible health risks of GM food," Nutrition and Health, 2002, Vol 16 Pp 73-84; Stanley W. B. Ewen and Arpad Pusztai, "Effect of diets containing genetically modified potatoes expressing Galanthus nivalis lectin on rat small intestine," Lancet, 1999 Oct 16; 354 (9187): 1353-4; and Arpad Pusztai, "Facts Behind the GM Pea Controversy: Epigenetics, Transgenic Plants & Risk Assessment," Proceedings of the Conference, December 1st 2005 (Frankfurtam Main, Germany: Literaturhaus, 2005)
Anonymous Frank, at 7:55 PM  
Palmer, I have no idea what it is that I wrote that makes you think you irritated me.
I didn't comment on your critique of the movie because your thoughts about it didn't interest me.
I can afford organic, sustainably grown food because I care enough about the product and it's benefits to grow it myself. I grow enough for myself and several hundred other people as well.
There are no reasonable citations you can provide me that will show that conventional food isn't lacking in nutrient value when compared to organic, sustainably raised food. Plain and simple. And believe me, I could cite enough scientific examples in favor of this fact to plug up your little blog for months. It might even go poof overnight, the research is so broad and vast.
Lastly, I didn't intend to define "my way" of eating for everyone, as you suggest. Everyone will have to make up their own mind as to the value or lack thereof of eating pesticides, herbicides, and GMO's. Plain and simple.
Anonymous Frank, at 8:11 PM  
Did you delete my post showing GMO's deleterious effects above? I'll repost it. These match the above citations:
Rats fed GM potatoes had smaller, partially atrophied livers.[22]

The livers of rats fed GM canola were 12-16% heavier.[23]

GM soy altered mouse liver cells in ways that suggest a toxic insult.[24] The changes reversed after their diet switched to non-GM soy.[25]

GM soy, reproductive problems, and infant mortality

More than half the offspring of mother rats fed GM soy died within three weeks.[26] Male rats[27] and mice[28] fed GM soy showed changes in their testicles; the mice had altered young sperm cells.

The DNA of mouse embryos whose parents ate GM soy functioned differently than those whose parents ate non-GM soy.[29]

Many offspring of female rats fed GM soy were considerably smaller,and more than half died within three weeks (compared to 10% of the non-GM soy controls). [30]

Bt crops linked to sterility, disease, and death

When sheep grazed on Bt cotton plants after harvest, within a week 1 in 4 died. Shepherds estimate 10,000 sheep deaths in one region of India.[31] Farmers in Europe and Asia say that cows, water buffaloes, chickens, and horses died from eating Bt corn varieties.[32]

About two dozen US farmers report that Bt corn varieties caused widespread sterility in pigs or cows.[33]

Filipinos in at least five villages fell sick when a nearby Bt corn variety was pollinating.[34]

The stomach lining of rats fed GM potatoes showed excessive cell growth, a condition that may be a precursor to cancer. Rats also had damaged organs and immune systems.[35]
Anonymous Frank, at 8:15 PM  
Frank - can you provide the article/paper from which you copied and pasted those citations?

Just doing a little bit of research I see that you like to cite Dr. Irina Ermakova who apparently doesn't care to submit her research to peer reviewed journals:

http://www.pubresreg.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=62

This doesn't necessarily prove a whole lot but it does make me weary to think of where you did your copying and pasting from. Scientific journals or gmoisbad.org?

I didn't delete any of your comments, BTW. Did you lose one or did it show up eventually? If something isn't appearing for some odd reason, just email it to me and I'll post it.

"I didn't intend to define 'my way' of eating for everyone, as you suggest." You may not have intended it, but, funnily enough, that's exactly what you did. You wrote "For one to eat well, it's not a question of affordability in an economic sense, as much as an affordability of conscience." Your definition leaves no room for alternatives as you deny one definition and replace it with your own. And, to boot, you demonize everyone who doesn't eat like you do.

You came across as irritated to me because you didn't bother to comment on anything I wrote and just made a load of assumptions.

"I didn't comment on your critique of the movie because your thoughts about it didn't interest me."

So, instead of commenting on my thoughts about the movie, which I provided, you comment on things I didn't provide and just assumed that I was saying that people should eat fast food, confine themselves to conventional produce, and all the other BS you accuse me of in your litanies that go "If you want to eat..." How convenient. Build any straw men lately? Where in this post did I say that people should eat fast food? Where did I say people should avoid organics? Instead of reading a critique of a film, you assumed I was promoting eating habits which just don't stack up to your morally pure gastronomic practices. Indeed, you were so agitated, you also appear to have assumed that I was expecting you to follow along complacently beside all the folks who blithely dine at McDonalds or some such thing. What did I write that would give you the idea that I expected that or that I would in any way want to put the kibosh on your little garden? Your comment showed you were very defensive.

How much do you charge for your produce? Who buys it?

Let's say that genetically altered foods are bad. While this may be the case, the movie, which, you may recall, is the subject of this blog post, does not offer any proof. It doesn't copy and paste footnotes for its audience, unlike you. Since you seem not to have understood, let me spell out what this post is all about: a movie, although informative, that lies and makes tons of unproven assertions while making emotional appeals instead. There you go. I'm not promoting fast food and I'm not railing against organics. I'm not saying that good science should be ignored when discussing GMOs. I'm not saying that every aspect of Big Ag is good.

I am genuinely sorry to hear that you have such a closed mind behind all those footnotes.

If you really want to spend the time copying and pasting footnotes in an attempt to prove to me that you are a copier/paster extraordinaire, be my guest. I take it as a compliment that you'd even consider wasting that amount of time on my little blog. Why do you even bother to comment on my little blog when you, organic farmer to the masses atop the moral high ground, must surely have better things to do?

Considering my own garden turned out rather poorly this past autumn, I am glad to hear that you have the green thumb. Best of luck to your business.
Blogger Palmer, at 11:10 PM  
Palmer, you are a piece of work, that's for sure. You asked me to show proof that GMO's are harmful. I did, complete with citations. You then derided me for cutting and pasting. How else was I supposed to provide the proof? Telepathy?
When I provided you with the GMO research you asked for, you said it, "doesn't necessarily prove a whole lot."
Really? Research doesn't prove a whole lot?
At this point I'm just going to just agree to disagree. I can't argue or debate with someone who dismisses science as meaningless.
However, I'll strongly agree with you on one point, that is, to spend any more time with you on your site is a waste of time. For my part, this discussion is closed. Just like your mind.
Anonymous Frank, at 8:52 AM  
Imagine my surprise that I log on this morning to find that my little blog hasn't been plugged up for months. Nor did it go poof overnight.

Frank, you misread what I wrote in my last comment. I gave you a link to a paper which casts doubt on the validity of the research of one person you cited and followed this up by saying "This doesn't necessarily prove a whole lot", i.e. - "This" refers to the paper which I referenced. Again, I'll spell it out - because Dr. Irina Ermakova has an aversion to submitting her work to peer reviewed journals doesn't necessarily mean that her conclusions are wrong, but it does mean that more work needs to be done and it's not case closed as you would have it. First you assume a whole bunch of things that aren't true from a critique of how a film makes an argument and now you mistake what a pronoun refers to even though it comes immediately after it. Is my writing really that unclear?

The problem I had was that you simply cut and pasted from some unknown source and you sit back and say "Q.E.D." My point was that there is doubt to be had on the part of an open-minded person about the validity of your sources. That's all. Does the term "cherry-picking" ring a bell?

Yes, I'm the closed-minded one. Read the post again and you'll find: "Although skeptical, I'm willing to concede that that farmer may be right." On the other hand, your open-mindedness is just glaringly apparent with: "There are no reasonable citations you can provide me that will show that conventional food isn't lacking in nutrient value when compared to organic, sustainably raised food. Plain and simple."

Goodbye, Frank. Have a happy 2010.
Blogger Palmer, at 9:33 AM  
Incredible.

The point of the film was about eating healthy and getting the customer know what they were eating.

But this review is all about, so how does the poor eat then?

So if you're poor and can't buy whole food, slow food, then you're supposed to eat shit?

What kind of a reasoning is that?

Are you nuts?
Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:41 AM  
Anon - where did I say that the poor are supposed to eat shit?

Exactly. Nowhere did I say that.

The point of the movie is to implicate an agricultural system about which the film has nothing good to say. I am simply arguing that A) the film is disingenuous, at best, and lies at its worst when making its own arguments and B) that it's not a simple story of bad corporations vs. organic farmers.
Blogger Palmer, at 8:22 AM  
I saw this movie and I am glad they made it. We have right to know where our foods comes from and how the animals are treated in doing so. And dont give me this horseshit about we cant feed six billion people organically because I dont buy it! I also think its appalling that our foods are not labled when they contain GMO's. I as a consumer have a right to know what is in the foods that I am purchasing with my hard earned money. The movie was very accurate and very informative, and the only reason a person would disagree with this film as adamently as you have, is you have some financial interest in the CAFO farms, Monsanto or some other aspect of the food distributions that are not organic. otherwise, why complain about such healthy foods. By the way, we only have one income but we manage to find away to go all organic, it can be done if you really want to. I have also noticed since we are eating organic, we eat less because we are fuller longer as apposed to eating non-organic, I was hungry all the time. I have also lost 5 pounds and continue to do so!
Anonymous Anonymous, at 11:44 AM  
Hello Anonymous. I agree as much as possible about what your food contains and where it's from is a good thing. Did I argue otherwise?

Why don't you buy that we can't feed 6+ billion people organically? Any proof or do you just simply like the idea? Here's what I wrote:

"Although skeptical, I'm willing to concede that that farmer may be right."

Thanks for not bothering to read what I wrote. All I said was that I was skeptical but am willing to be proven wrong. Too bad you're so incredibly close-minded that you cannot concede the same.

"the only reason a person would disagree with this film as adamently as you have, is you have some financial interest in the CAFO farms, Monsanto or some other aspect of the food distributions that are not organic."

I'm also sorry to hear that you're a conspiracy monger. Nice attitude you have there - no one can have an honest disagreement with you, anyone who does must be conspiring with big ag. To be honest, I my 401Ks may have stock in Monsanto, CAFO farms, etc but I don't know.

So, how much is one income? You're not the first to tell me this. Are we talking 6 figures, below the poverty line or what?

Best of luck to you on your weight-loss program.

One last question - can you address my criticisms of the idea that fast food is strictly a post-WWII phenomenon and that it brandishes nostalgia in a way that is tantamount to a lie? Do you deny that fast food as a concept has existed for millennia or that food poisoning has been an issue for that same amount of time? Regardless of what you think of organic foods, the fact remains that the filmmakers misled, if not outright lied, in trying to portray the world pre-1950 as a food utopia.
Blogger Palmer, at 3:27 PM  
Hi, first of all thank you for posting this, i'm glad someone has a critical point of view of this documentary, I'm from Mexico and I'm studying Food Engineering, and me and many of my career friends got really angry when they allowed the proyection of this movie at my University. Why? because they showed the food industry as the same as hell, and we engineers as satan minions. It's worrying how so many people believe all the stuff in "Food, Inc.", and not only that, also how this people manage to distort all the information, and only show the negative side of industry. Why didn't they talked about all new thermal treatment food is receiving in order to kill more microorganisms, or how some diseases that where really common years ago, now it's rare that are found in people?
Besides they showed people erroneous information like that E. coli O157:H7 was developed because of cattled that had eaten corn. Why didn't they say that scientists have not found any information that relates this both things?! Or how scientists haven't had any proof that GM food can transmute a gene to people? It is because maybe these things are not possible?
Well I just wanted to put my opinion, too, and by the way congratulate you because of the post.
Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:56 PM  
Anonymous - You're welcome and thanks for leaving a comment.
Blogger Palmer, at 7:20 PM  
(I'm a 4th year biochemistry student in British Columbia)

I've recently finished a project on GM foods, and of the many articles (40+) I've sifted through to finish my report, only one claimed that we needed GM foods to successfully feed the world... The rest said GM foods do not increase food security or our ability to feed the hungry and the poor.

I won't go into details of what the articles said, but I agree with the idea that GM foods will not be our answer for food shortage (if in fact there is one, of that I'm skeptical of too).
Blogger Kalevra, at 8:45 PM  
Kalevra - thanks for commenting. I have not personally looked into GM foods but I found your comment interesting. Any of the articles meant for a layreader like me or were they all techinical?
Blogger Palmer, at 1:11 PM  
We are not suppose to be eating Fast Food everyday. It is too expensive and not a healthy food choice. Notice, I said choice. We should be appreciative that we have choices. No one is forcing a family to eat fast food everyday nor should we. I am not fond of McDonald's new Happy Meal which reduced the size of the French Fry and added apples. If we want to splurge at McD's, I would prefer the previous size of fries and eat my fresh, whole apple at home that wasn't pre-packaged.

Concerning GMO, the EU has spent loads of money reasearching GMO and cannot find ill effects so show us research.

Lastly, farmers would love to show you where your food comes from, but being deceitful on a job application to get into a hog farm is wrong. Come to a hog farm and ask for a tour. You will find that your food supply is the safest it has ever been. Animals are killed humanely as I just toured a facility last week and was very impressed. Hog manure is not run off. It is way too valuable to be run off, it is gold for our fields.
Anonymous Anonymous, at 6:57 PM  
Hello Anonymous - I agree. Fast food everyday is not a good thing.

Where do you farm?
Blogger Palmer, at 8:41 AM  
It's too bad the film didn't look at both sides fairly. It seemed way too propaganda-ish to me.

I had a feeling the film wasn't being entirely truthful after watching the Dollar Menu segment, where they insinuate its pretty much impossible to afford healthy food. The family actually complained that a pound of brocolli costs 29 cents more than a 1/4 pound cheeseburger, thus it wasn't a good deal. And while that $1.29 for broccoli was unaffordable and a poor deal, they commented on how $5 for soda was a great deal.

That family could have easily bought a sack of potatoes, some broccoli and some cheese, and made up some baked potatoes with broccoli and melted cheese. Not super healthy, but better than McDonald's and would probably cost the same, if not cheaper.

I think when a lot of people say things like "it's expensive to eat healthy," they actually mean to say "junk food tastes better than healthy stuff."
Anonymous Anonymous, at 9:55 PM  
You do not need to shop at whole foods to be healthy. You can eat a plant based lifestyle. Brown rice and .68 cent a pound bananas in California do not break my bank account.
Blogger californiactually, at 11:19 PM  
Hi californiactually - I agree with you.
Blogger Palmer, at 12:37 PM  
So many people, literally do not have access to whole or natural foods. It's heartbreaking.
Blogger Thomas Watson, at 3:06 AM  

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