Monday, June 15, 2009

Food, Inc.--New Movie...New Motivation To Grow Your Own

This past weekend, a movie called, Food, Inc. was released. If you have the proverbial "stomach" to go see it, perhaps it may entice you once again to take garden hoe in hand, canning jar to task, and 5 gallon bucket to fill...with whole grains and cereals. Here are a few comments about this lastest release:

New film exposes unsavoury side of US food industry

By Leonard Doyle in Washington
Published: 7:05PM BST 14 Jun 2009

The much-anticipated documentary Food, Inc. opens this week, many may find themselves unable to finish their snacks as the film exposes some unsavoury realities about how food reaches the dinner table.

Major food producers would not agree to be interviewed for the movie and they tried to ban the filmmakers from their stock yards, pig farms and chicken barns.

The documentary claims cows are fattened up on heavily subsidised corn, even though they cannot digest the grain properly and their guts become breeding grounds for deadly E. coli strains as a result.

It also says chickens with oversized breasts are grown to maturity and are ready to be slaughtered twice as quickly as they would be naturally, thanks to chemicals in their feed.

There is also stomach-churning footage of conveyer belts packed with little yellow chicks being pushed around like mechanical parts; a cow, barely alive, being dragged around by a forklift; and herds of squealing pigs being forced onto a factory "kill floor".

Food Inc is being released as America is finally starting to wake up to the public health crisis fuelled by its eating habits and food industry

In the film, the best-selling food writer Michael Pollan says: "The way we eat has changed more in the last 50 years than in the previous 10,000. You go into the supermarket and you see pictures of farmers, the picket fence and the 1930s farmhouse. The reality is, it's not a farm, it's a factory. That meat is being processed by huge multinational corporations that have very little to do with ranches and farmers."
The film addresses the country's epidemics of obesity and diabetes. Among young Americans born after 2000, one in three will contract early onset diabetes. For blacks, Hispanics and American Indians a staggering one in every two will contract the disease.

"The industry doesn't want you to know the truth about what you're eating because if you knew, you might not want to eat it. We've never had food companies this big and this powerful in our history."

Fast-Food Nation Kills Kids, Sickens Corn-Fed Cows: Interview

June 12, 2009
By Rick Warner

Food is like air, an essential ingredient of life that most of us consume daily without much thought. “Food, Inc.” may change your attitude.

The new documentary dramatically shows how the U.S. food industry is controlled by a handful of conglomerates that churn out products that can make us -- and their workers -- sick.

“It’s all about producing food that’s cheap and plentiful,” Michael Pollan

Warner: Monsanto, Tyson, Smithfield, Perdue. Why are so few companies producing most of our food?

Pollan: Fast-food franchises have a lot to do with it. They need huge quantities of beef for hamburgers and huge quantities of chicken for chicken nuggets. And they want their food to taste the same everywhere in the country. So they’d rather deal with one producer instead of 50.

Warner: Cows are now being fed corn instead of grazing on grass because it makes them grow bigger and faster. How does that affect the health of the cows and the quality of the meat they produce?

Pollan: Cows aren’t designed to eat corn, so it makes them sick and their guts become a breeding ground for E. coli. Forty percent of the animals on feed lots are carrying it. It gets into the food supply through manure. And when you’re slaughtering 400 cows an hour, the way some of these places do, it’s very easy for the manure to get into the meat.
The government can recall toys and cars, but it doesn’t have the power to recall meat. That’s left up to the companies. Which tells me the government can’t ensure the safety of our food supply.

Revolving Door

Warner: Isn’t part of the problem the revolving door between the industry and government agencies? The movie documents how industry officials end up running the agencies that are supposed to regulate their former businesses.

Pollan: People go back and forth all the time. The food industry is one of the most powerful lobbying forces on Capitol Hill. They usually get what they want

Warner: What can the average person do to change the system?

Pollan: They can do a lot. Never underestimate the power of the consumer. Wal-Mart listened when consumers said they didn’t want milk from cows treated with (artificial growth) hormones. And McDonald’s stopped using genetically modified potatoes after consumers complained. People can vote with their pocketbooks.

Instead of spending money to go see the movie, maybe you should invest in a couple packages of seeds...

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