I watched Food, Inc. the other night.
Although I was already aware of many of the horrors of the meat industry and of corporate “food” production, the film touched on a number of things that are eye-opening and worth investigating further. Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) and Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma), both pioneers in removing the blinders our nation has on regarding food safety, offer their expert commentary in the film – showing us how the food safety standards in America are extremely flawed at best.
If you’re one of those people who would rather not know what you’re really eating, you should stop reading here, and don’t watch the movie. Ignorance is bliss, right?
Here are a couple highlights of the documentary:
- Corn-fed vs. Grass-fed cows – I haven’t eaten meat in about 2 years (after reading Skinny Bitch, my life changed, seriously), but if I did still eat meat, I would absolutely be switching to all organic, free range, grass-fed meat. Why? To make a long story short, cows don’t have the stomachs to properly digest corn. Factory-farmed cows are fed corn (and growth hormones) so they grow bigger and faster than they would on a grass diet. Their bodies, in turn, develop e.coli, which is transferred to the meat, and into a majority of the meat food products consumed in America. If your meat doesn’t contain e.coli, its probably because the meat was soaked in ammonium hydroxide to get rid of the bacteria. Appetizing, right? 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 food borne illnesses.
- Chicken safety standards — The New York Times posted an article stating that two-thirds of whole broiler chickens (the chickens you buy at the grocery store) are contaminated with salmonella or campylobacter bacteria, the most common causes of food-borne illness. Also, do you know that your chicken is soaked in chlorine before you eat it? Conventional chickens are raised in awful conditions. Here’s where your “healthy” grilled chicken dinner came from: “The giant dark filthy foul-smelling football-field-sized chicken houses filled with 40,000 or more birds pumped up with pharmaceuticals, standing in excrement, with bodies grown unnaturally fast, and breasts so large their tiny legs can barely hold them up.” (Happy Healthy Long Life). YUM. Again, you can avoid this by eating organic, free-range chicken.
- Corporate control — The food supply in America is controlled by only a few companies who care much more about making money than about the safety of your family, your food, the farmers growing it, the workers producing it, or the environment. Bigger, faster, more money — that’s the goal of industrial food production. The FDA and USDA are made up of many former corporate food industry execs, so their intention is to bring in as much money as possible, often sacrificing quality for quantity. When its all money driven, how do we know what’s really safe? We don’t. We trust these big brands for no reason. As they say in Food, Inc – there’s nothing honest about this food.
- Obesity and diabetes in children are becoming more and more frequent due to the diet of highly processed food in America.
- Factory farms – 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. (Stats from Food, Inc)
This post is just skimming the surface of the wealth of knowledge that can be obtained by watching this film or doing your own research. Don’t be in the dark about what you’re putting into your body, what you’re feeding your family, and how you’re affecting the well-being of farm workers and the future of our environment. You really can make a difference and YOU DO HAVE A CHOICE!
I’ll end with a few quotes about how YOUR food choices really can affect the industry as a whole:
“When we run an item past the supermarket scanner, we’re VOTING for local or not, organic or not.” (Why is local food important?)
“At Wal-Mart, we made that decision to become rBST-free in our milk supply. We made that decision based on customer preference.”
This one is my favorite quote of the whole movie – it really empowers all of us (for some reason, this particular farmer was very touching. I actually got teary eyed when I watched him say this):
“We farmers…we’re going to deliver to the marketplace what the marketplace demands. People have got to start demanding good, wholesome food of us. And we’ll deliver. I promise you. We’re very ingenious people. We’ll deliver.”
Watch this clip of the last few minutes of the movie to hear these quotes.
Bottom line? Food, Inc will open your eyes to the choices you have about the food you’re eating. Play an active role in your life and your health. Get informed!!!!! Knowledge is power.
Hungry for change? For more tips and info about how you can get involved, visit the Food, Inc site.
Clean eating is loving yourself and changing the world!
Do you love health, nutrition and wellness? Check out the Institute for Integrative Nutrition!