Sunday, December 6, 2009

Food, Inc.

Food, Inc. (2008)
Director - Robert Kenner

"The food we eat has changed more in the past 50 years than in the past 50,000 years" That is the opening statement from the movie Food, Inc. The movie then proceeds to prove it to you with an impeccably researched selection of facts, laws and interviews. Since I'm already a convert, Food, Inc. was preaching to the choir for me, but I learned a few things I didn't know already about the food industry.

One big problem seems to be the subsidy on corn (allowing it to sold for less that it costs to produce) and the over reliance on corn and corn products in our foods. Not to vilify corn, because corn is not evil of it's own accord, but the practice of corn growing, feed corn for animals and highly processed corn products are the root of so many of the problems we have today with health, farming and food production.

Particularly enlightening was the discourse on how the big food corporations manage farmers with constant requests for upgrades to their farms and equipment in order to stay in business with them. The one woman who allowed the movie makers to film her chicken house was fired by her employer for not upgrading her chicken house to the sort that has no windows. Personally I can't imagine spending an entire life in the dark but this is what most chickens have to go through these days.

Not so surprising, was the use of lawsuits to keep 'rogue' farmers in line. Monsanto (the geniuses who invented Roundup pesticide) in particular seems to have made an art out of this approach. Even farmers who never even bought their seed got sued for patent violation when their crops were contaminated by neighbors crops. And, keeping the seed from your own crop was a violation as well. I'm still a little outraged over that one. I mean, if you buy something, isn't it yours? Apparently not....

Food, Inc. got into some of the key players at the FDA and USDA as well. Many of the top jobs are being held by those who have been employed by the big food corporations. The government is populated by them as well. Donald Rumsfeld was a CEO for Searle (bought by Monsanto), John Ashcroft, a Missouri Senator, received record contributions from Monsanto, and Robert Shapiro, one of Clinton's advisers, was a CEO for Monsanto. Even Clarence Thomas (you know, supreme court judge Clarence Thomas) was a Monsanto attorney. He is the judge who wrote the majority opinion on forbidding farmers from keeping their own seed.

For anyone who is not so familiar with the business practices of Monsanto, lawsuits are their premier way of beating their competition to death. Click on the Monsanto link above to see a video on what horrible things they have been doing (compliments of the Organic Consumers Association).

The bottom line in all of this is that these big corporations are using their power to control the food supply to our detriment. Obesity, diabetes, cancer and a whole plethora of diseases are becoming epidemic in our country and it's becoming clearer than ever that the cause is the food we eat.

For a truly enlightening experience, go buy or rent Food, Inc. And then exercise your power and go buy something organic! Even big corporations have to bow down to the power of the pocketbook (err, wallet)!

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