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  • The message of 'Food, Inc.' is that most of what Americans now eat is produced by a handful of highly centralized mega-businesses,and that this situation is detrimental to health, environment, even our very humanity. The ugly facts of animal mistreatment, food contamination, and government collusion are covered up by a secretive industry that wouldn't talk to the filmmakers or let the interiors of their chicken farms, cattle ranches, slaughterhouses, and meatpacking plants be filmed.

    Informed by the voices and outlook of bestseller authors Eric Schlosser ('Fast Food Nation') and Michael Pollen ('The Omnivore's Dilemma'), this new film is an exposé that offers some hope that things can be made better through grassroots efforts. True, Kenner points out, Monsanto, Smithfield, Perdue, et al. are rich and powerful. But so were the tobacco companies, and if Philip Morris and Reynolds could be fought successfully, so can the food industry. The fact that the vast Walmart is switching to organic foods because customers want them shows people vote effectively with their pocketbooks every time they buy a meal.

    Other documentaries have covered this ground before. The 2008 French documentary 'The World According to Monsanto' (2008) focused on how that company, with government support, monopolizes seed planting, and Deborah Koons' 2004 'The Future of Food' went over similar ground. Jennifer Abbott and Mark Achbar's sweeping 2003 film 'The Corporation' (2003) touched on Monsanto's monopoly too. In more general terms, the ominous, narration-free German documentary 'Our Daily Bread' (Nikolaus Geyrhalter, 2003) delivered 'Food, Inc.'s' message about dehumanized factory-style food production with a European focus. Richard Linklater's 2006 'Fast Food Nation' grew out of Schlosser's book about how bad and disgusting American fast food is and how it undermines the health. These are all good films, and there are and will be lots more. As this new film mentions, exploitation and malpractice in the meat industry were exposed as far back as Upton Sinclair's 1906 muckraking book, 'The Jungle.'

    'Food, Inc.' is a populist and practical film that speaks with the voices of farmers, advocates, and journalists, and focuses on food, what's wrong with it, and what we can do about it. Kenner offers lots of practical information and appeals to everyday people. The film goes back to the Fifties to show how the rise of fast food contributed to centralized, less diverse American food production. MacDonald's now much of the chicken, beef, potatoes, and many other foods produced in the country. The film explains that only a handful of companies control not only most of the beef, pork, chicken, and corn produced in the US but most other food products as well. Moreover not only is corn the major feed given to food animals, but a surprising amount of the tens of thousands of products sold at today's supermarket -- that packaged junk racked in the center of the store that Atkins and now Pollen have told us to avoid, are also derived from corn. Because of the way certain food products have government support, hamburgers are cheaper than fresh vegetables. Kenner focuses on a low-income Orozcos who both work and feel forced to rely on fast food meals because they fill them and their kids more economically than fresh produce bought at the market.

    The new industry has developed chickens that grow bigger faster with more breast meat. They're kept in closed dark pens. The story is the same for all these poor mass produced critters, crammed together in great numbers, filled with antibiotics, deformed, suffering, ankle deep in their own excrement, brutally killed. The film has good footage of the big southern meat producer, Smithfield, showing how the new mega-food industry feeds off of exploited low-wage illegal immigrants who it treats as expendable, just like the animals.

    An important spokesman in 'Food, Inc.' is an organic farmer (you could just say a stubbornly old-fashioned one) called Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm in Swoope, Virginia, who's also an author, though the movie doesn't mention his books. His cattle are grass-fed and watching them, we realize that's the way nature meant them to be. They roams free, living a healthy life, trimming back the grass while fertilizing it so it will grow back. Cattle weren't meant to live on corn, and doing so has led to infection. The industry solution to such problems is not to change back to earlier methods, but to add more chemicals. They're doing crazy things like adding bleach to hamburger filler to keep the burgers from being poison.

    It's hard to keep a balance in such a documentary but Kenner tries. That Hispanic family is important. Slow food and organics have been a thing of the rich, as their dilemma illustrates. There could be more focus on everyday people and their difficult daily choices. The Walmart story is important too: Walmart customers are everyday people. It's easy enough for well heeled families to buy boutique produce at farmer's markets. Average Joes don't always have the time or the money for that. Also important is Barbara Kowalcyk, who works in Washington with her mother as an advocate for stricter laws. Her 2 1/2-year-old son Kevin died in 12 days from a virulent form of E. coli after eating a hamburger on vacation. She wants not sympathy but control of an indifferent industry. Carole Morison is another vivid voice: she is a southern chicken farmer who lost her contract with Perdue for refusing to switch to dark enclosed tunnel chicken coops, the latest in a series of enforced "improvements" that lead to more production at the cost of more cruelty. She also explains how the farmers in thrall to these big companies are kept in debt like indentured servants.

    Armed with witty, clear graphics and ironically bright color, 'Food, Inc.' has a chance of gaining more converts to "slow," organic, local food and opponents to crooked food regulation and monopolistic industry. This seems one of the most balanced and humane treatments of the subject yet.
  • It is said that if you like eating sausage, you better not see how it is made. If you like eating meat, don't watch an animal being killed. If you have your fill of fruits and vegetables daily, don't think about the pesticides that coat them.

    Our modern society has sanitized the presentation of food so that we can blissfully ignore what we should be concerned with: where food comes from, how it is raised, picked, handled, altered, transported and sold. Instead our attention is focused only on the awesome number of beautiful packages on market shelves, the unblemished fruits and vegetables available year round. In our increasingly artificial world appearance trumps taste, price trumps provenance, and industrialization gives us a false sense of safety.

    It is therefore opportune to have the release of "Food, Inc". After you see it, you'll probably not shop for food in the same way. You may even change the kinds of food you eat. Not enough to convince me to become a vegetarian, but the ubiquitousness of corn and its derivatives, stated multiple times in the film, has made scouring of package labels a routine. The easy rule of not buying anything that contains more than five ingredients more frequently obeyed.

    The film contains material that has already been brought out by others, for examples, (1) the problem of genetically modified seeds crossing into properties that do not want them and (2) the appalling conditions in which farm animals are kept. Some material is stressed too much, for example, the whole issue surrounding the tragic death of a kid from a very virulent form of E.coli and the attempts to establish regulations that might prevent such deaths. Individual cases are worth mentioning, but systemic and widespread issues are more compelling. The death of one is no doubt a tragedy but the impairment of thousands is of greater social consequence.

    The issue of food regulation in general is a subject that I would have liked to see more of. The adverse effect of more regulation (as per the example above) can be too much regulation. The subject is briefly broached by the "good farmer" (Joel Salatin) who kills his chickens in the open. Ironically those chickens are likely to be more healthy and tasty. Regulation may eliminate this practice. Regulation can therefore have a negative impact on food culture. One of the best example of this is preventing the importation into the US of many delicious young unpasteurized cheese from Europe or even the marketing of such cheese by US producers. How many get sick from those cheese compared to the number of sick from peanut butter or spinach?

    The film unwittingly projects a bit of naiveté in a couple of places. The segment about an individual being sued by a food conglomerate and essentially losing for lack of money is not news. This is a capitalist system: more money, better lawyers, almost certain victory. Yet the point is well taken that the food conglomerates are behaving in thuggish ways and acting with the protection of a complicit government (the best money can buy). But again, uncontrolled capitalism generates monopolies and they will fight tooth and nail to retain control and squash any semblance of competition. It's the logic of the beast. This not limited to food. Since voting habits have brought the US to this state of affairs, our only recourse as consumers is to eat bananas, and only bananas, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It's called the Chiquita Diet.

    In any case, this is a must-see documentary. The director is to be commended for having the courage of tackling this very important topic.

    Don't forget to buy a five gallon basket of popcorn dripping with oleo and a big soda with plenty of high fructose corn syrup before going into the screening room. It may be the last time you do.
  • The Center for Disease Control and Prevention has estimated that foodborne diseases cause approximately 76 million illnesses, 325,000 hospitalizations, and 5,000 deaths in the United States each year. If you are the mother of two-year-old Kevin Kowalcyk who died in 2001 after eating a hamburger contaminated with E. Coli, however, statistics do not tell the story of crushing personal loss. The tragedy of Kevin's premature death spurred legislation (known as Kevin's Law) introduced by Rep. Anna G. Eshoo, D-Palo Alto, that would give the U.S. Department of Agriculture the power to close down plants that produce contaminated meat but it has failed repeatedly to pass the U.S. Congress because of opposition from the meat industry.

    E-Coli outbreaks and other food-safety related issues are discussed in the outstanding documentary Food, Inc., directed by Robert Kenner, a film, graphic in part, that may leave you with a severe case of indigestion. Kenner is an unabashed advocate for greater food safety and the film with commentary by Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) and Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma).attempts to convince the public of the shortsightedness of the mega-corporations that dominate the food industry and their "faster, fatter, bigger, cheaper," method of increasing profits often at the expense of public safety. Representatives from food-producing giants such as Monsanto, Smithfield, Tyson and Perdue that control our food supply were invited to be interviewed for the film but declined or did not respond to Kenner's request. According to Schlosser, "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."

    Interviewing farmers and ranchers, Kenner learned that they are mostly at the mercy of mega-corporations like Monsanto which have increased their share of the soybean market from 2% to 90% in the last decade. Monsanto developed their own custom gene for soybeans and now threaten their customers with lawsuits for patent infringement if they save their own seeds to use the next year. The film observes that part of the reason why the food industry is so hard to regulate is that many of the government officials currently assigned to watchdog roles were once employed by the companies they now monitor and notes that FDA food inspections have plummeted from 50,000 in 1972 to 9,200 in 2006.

    Other subjects covered are the treatment of cows that are forced to eat corn instead of grass (which then goes into Coke, high fructose corn syrup, diapers, decongestants, and batteries) and the dreadful conditions of chickens that are herded into darkened cages before they are slaughtered. On that subject, Kenner interviews Carole Morrison who was unwilling to jam her chickens into cages without sunlight and, as a result, had her contract canceled by a giant chicken conglomerate who refused to have any further business dealings with her. Also discussed are the growing rates of diabetes in young people, the soaring incidence of obesity, and the use of low paying illegal immigrants to work in the food processing industry.

    In spite of the horror stories, however, Food, Inc. is not depressing and Kenner seems more interested in educating the public than frightening them. He shows that people can make a difference by citing the tobacco industry as well as the efforts of an entrepreneur from Stonyfield Farms who sold his line of organic products to Wal-Mart and a Virginia farmer who insists on raising animals with dignity and respect. To the strain of Bruce Springsteen singing Woody Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land", advice on how individuals can make a difference include – buy locally, shop in farmer's markets where possible, seek out quality and organic products even if they cost a bit more, and be sure to read the labeling to learn where a product comes from and the ingredients it contains.

    Food, Inc. by itself may not be the catalyst that will preserve our health and well being and make food taste the way it did fifty years ago, but it is an important start and should be seen by anyone who eats, that means all of us. As the director puts it, "I think we're beginning to see the dangers of this inexpensive food that these big agribusinesses are producing. And the more we can see the cracks in this system, the faster it's going to fall apart. I'm hoping that this film can help people to start to think about it…People are becoming much more conscious of their food, and the more we think about it, the more good food we're going to get." I'll vote for that.
  • Food, Inc is essential viewing even though it's not a great movie. Much like An Inconvenient Truth its facts and accumulation of information trumps style or overall craft. This doesn't mean that the director isn't making a bad film or doesn't have some clever visual cues and transitions or know how to combine interviews and archival footage, since he does. But it's the precious interviews he gets, and just leaving the theater knowing that American food (or just stretching worldwide) is run by four corporations and that the farming industry as is advertised as "the American Farmer" is in deep trouble.

    It's separated into sections, and each one has something interesting. The one that got to me personally was the section on chickens, how they, like cows as well, are genetically engineered to get bigger a lot faster than they used to, and how the working conditions are at best hazardous and at worst untenable. We see one woman interviewed, the only one who bucked her corporate bosses, to let the cameras in to the state of the chicken coop. Even if one hasn't seen a regular chicken coop before, the state of this place, the stark and dark mis-en-scene, gives us a picture of how it is. As someone like myself who likes a good piece of chicken every now and again, it made me about as guilty as imaginable.

    But perhaps that's part of the point of Food, Inc - get us informed to the point where we're scared s***less. The downside may be the reach; while Inconvenient Truth had the boost of a Vice President, the big names in this documentary are authors, one of which wrote Fast Food Nation (and, surprisingly, eats a hamburger on camera, from a diner of course, and speaks about how burger and fries are some of his favorite food to eat despite the horrors of the fast food industry). So it's difficult to say how many people will see this who don't already have some idea about the atrocious conditions in slaughterhouses, the outbreaks of E-Coli that affect countless people including little Kevin as seen in the film, and Monsanto's patent of a soybean seed that they genetically altered. Between that last part alone and a little factoid made about Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas, it's no wonder one leaves the theater flabbergasted.

    There is some hope the film provides, however. A Virginia farmer, who treats all of his livestock with care and feeds them right (not copious amounts of CORN, which, by the way, is practically coming out of your ears as you read this), gives a few moments to reflect on how the ideal of the American farmer, of what they can give to the community and how they can try and be reasonable with having to do the inevitable of killing living things for food. Hell, the director even has Wal-Mart's one really good moment in the documentary sun in years with its endorsement of organic products. But whatever you're own persuasion on food- be you a hardcore vegan or someone just coming from McDonalds before the movie starts- Food, Inc can make some sort of difference, if only for the information. I know I may not stop eating certain foods, but I'll never forget to give another look or a double take on what's in it- or what may not be there at all. This movie is good, valuable stuff.
  • I recall a story where a teacher had tasked her students to draw a picture of a chicken for art class, and to her surprise, one of them drew a chicken fillet. I suppose the point here is that we've become so detached from the origins of our food sources, save for the form they take when already in the supermarkets, cured and prepared with ready to cook/eat processes becoming the norm of our daily lives. And with periodic cases of food scares and poisoning, this film takes a look throughout the food chain of today, and although it's rather US-centric, it still has plenty of relevance here since after all, we import almost everything.

    With technological research applied to our food sources, be it the humble grain or to the meat to satisfy all us omnivores out there, the drive of course is to produce enough to feed all the mouths, although sometimes things get done out necessity, and spiral out of control when the pressure's there to produce food that can grow faster, fatter, and to shorten the time it takes to get to the dining table.

    Directed by Robert Kenner, this is a documentary that followed some of the points that you would have become familiar with in films like Fast Food Nation, whose writer also provided an interview and laid the foundations of our predicament quite squarely on the MacDonald brothers, who had revolutionized the way food gets prepared, presented, and sourced. Kenner cleverly sections the film into digestible chunks, each focused on aspects of the food chain and the products themselves. The stark images and footage on how animals are treated as products in an assembly line subjected to the mass production (killing) process, will definitely shock you into thinking – that cannot be right, nor humane. Will it make you swear off meat? Probably.

    In fact, the picture got painted in very bleak terms, where food conglomerates continue to grow in size and profits, resulting in the power they have over consumers, politicians and the likes, where choice and options are but a facade on shelves because the brands and products all belong to common parents. Corporations exists for profits, and are not responsible for consequences arising from their drive to make money. Everything else that resulted from that drive, whether or not a negative impact on society and human lives, can be considered collateral in their goal to feed the earth, and profit from it. Naturally, none of the conglomerate representatives wanted to be interviewed for the film, and that comes with no surprise, especially when their underhanded tactics in dealing with opposition, and corrupt practices get exposed through hidden cameras.

    And in some ways, the film too makes you feel a little guilty for being part of the fuel on the demand side of things. With demand comes the opportunity to supply, and make money, and corporate social responsibility is still something relatively new as a buzzword that has plenty of room to be translated into action.

    But the film is not all noise in complaining and presenting a doomsday scenario, and that's where the film earned merits in providing workable alternative solutions rather than just barking up a tree. It balanced the issues on what we could do, and engages the audience to be catalyst for change, making one realize that one has the power to skew demand to more acceptable methods of production, rather than one bred on convenience. It's not all serious nature here, as Kenner does inject enough well-placed humour into the documentary so that it doesn't come off as too heavy-handed in treatment, in pointing the loaded guns of blame onto others.

    Food, Inc. is an incredible documentary about where our food comes from, and for those without an inkling of knowledge, it would be worthwhile to sit through this film and get some enlightenment. More importantly of course, is to take action to prevent our stomachs from becoming just repositories for Salt, Fat and Sugar. Highly Recommended.
  • "Faster, fatter, bigger, cheaper." A farmer describes fast food folly.

    Although I would like to call Food, Inc. a horror film, I must relax my delicate eating sensibilities to call it a disturbing documentary. Images of little chickens hanging like laundry on conveyor cables above fast-moving assembly lines and cows patiently standing knee high in feces have changed my attitude toward grilling.

    Robert Kenner's Food, Inc. isn't half the fun of a Michael Moore doc in which the infamous director savages everyone from auto execs to neocons. Kenner is more credible because he doesn't viciously pursue any one official, just the food industry itself (and McDonald's more than any other), which has become oligarchic and impersonal, endangering the quality and safety of consumers. Unlike Moore, Kenner has no sense of humor.

    Like almost all documentarians, Kenner smartly offers ways to change the barbaric methods and marketing of food. In truth too little praise is given to the food giants that have provided good nutrition and cheaper food in an amazing harvesting that can feed the world. Narrator/interviewer Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) and scientist Michael Pollan (UC Berkeley) modestly present their cases for food abuse such as the demand in corporations like McDonalds for "faster, fatter, bigger, cheaper."

    On the point of treating animals with kindness, the documentary has encouraged me to consider vegetables.
  • zwazoever18 December 2009
    This documentary does a good job educating the consumers on how food is produced,packed and marketed in U.S nowadays. By going back repeatedly to how it was before it shows us how much it has evolved and also the effects of those drastic changes on food prices, American eating habits and ultimately on their health. The movie does all that without ever going over the top or becoming apocalyptic, which seems to be a trend for these type of movies nowadays,it does call out the greedy mega food corporation and the state officials for not arming the regulatory agencies better but the consumers are also at fault here for not informing themselves enough on the content of the products in order to choose what's best for their health not just for their wallet.
  • With family run farms pretty much a thing of the past, institutional farming has pretty much taken over,and the dim,dark & dismal effects are omnipresent. There is an epidemic of food borne illness,due to cattle being exposed to over use of steroids to make them grow fatter, faster (and this also includes chickens,pigs,etc.),not to mention GMO corn,grains,etc. Robert Kenner's eye opening film, 'Food,Inc.' manages to shine at least some light on some pretty unethical practices that are being undertaken by corporate owned & managed farms. The likes of Eric Schlosser (author of 'Fast Food Nation',which was made into a semi fictional film a few years back)is featured in interviews,along with Michael Pollan. Many fingers are pointed at guilty parties doing the dirty deeds of the farming industry,along with some pretty unpleasant footage of unethical practices (i.e. abuse of farm animals, although this film doesn't take up any kind of vegetarian/vegan agenda of it's own---the viewer can make up their own mind just what they prefer to eat). Much to my surprise,there is little discussion of the mad cow disease epidemic (or,BSE)from a few years back (only a passing reference). Rated PG by the MPAA,this film contains some unpleasant footage of animal abuse,as well as a rude word,or two. Okay for older children who care about what's on their plate for breakfast,lunch or dinner.
  • Did you know that it only takes 48 days for a chicken to go to market. Is this natural? This film explores how food is grown, and the concerns that people have, such as the e-coli outbreak that seems to happen every year. I am a lover of meat, but after this film you will want to change some of your practices like switching to Organic etc. This film also explores demand for certain products that are not Genetically modified.

    We all have to eat but we can make decisions based on facts, instead of based on perception. People need to be aware that their consequences may have dire repercussions, so if you need to eat, and we all do, then go out and see this.
  • lreynaert17 October 2009
    Robert Kenner's movie is a perfect illustration of F. William Engdahl's book 'Seeds of Destruction', which explains how international agribusinesses are trying to monopolize vertically and horizontally (and profit from) food production on a world scale.

    The world's food chain is built mainly on heavily subsidized and, therefore, cheap corn. In fact, all humans chew corn the whole day long from bread over meat (all animals are fed with corn) to deserts and drinks. Transnational corporations are even trying to learn fish to eat corn. Corn becomes nearly a food monoculture. A particular transnational company even developed through genetic engineering highly efficient corn seed which it patented, thereby creating a nearly seed monopoly. Buyers cannot use the produce of the seeds as plant seed for future harvests. The company's own inspection force controls with hawk eyes that its clients buy new genetically modified seed every year. Some of the company's supporters and former directors occupy key positions in US governments and government administrations (FDA).

    The movie shows the disastrous effects of intensive farming on animals, as well as the health and environmental risks of diminished standards at livestock farming and slaughtering houses. Fortunately, some biological farmers show more respect for their animals and for their clients.

    At the end of the movie, the makers give a perfect list of recommendations for those wishing to eat 'healthy' food.

    This movie is a must see for all those who want to understand the world we live in.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    If there is any truth to the saying "you are what you eat", then the USA is in big trouble. You don't have to be a doctor, farmer or a nutritionist to see that way too many Americans are fat.

    Not big boned.

    Not with glandular problems.

    Not with genetic predispositions.

    Just fat, plain and simple.

    But, like trying to buy clothing that has no connection to Asian sweatshops or any product not directly connected to oil; finding wholesome foods that are delicious and nutritious is difficult.

    After seeing the documentary Food, Inc. if you are planning to go to dinner, you may find your appetite suppressed or at the very least, you will reconsider your choice of restaurants.

    Food, Inc. from writer/director Robert Kenner is a documentary that looks at the huge corporate run food industry and how, through a series of small, not even necessarily conscious steps, they have become purveyors of cheap food that is no longer wholesome, nutritious or even tasty, and how the big food corporations are now making more money than they ever have before at any time.

    But the real price is paid by us, the consumers. We pay for it in a significantly greater risk of food borne illness and in generally poor health from crappy products that are way too high in fat, sugar and salt.

    Now, anyone familiar with Eric Schlosser's book Fast Food Nation or Michael Pollan's book The Omnivore's Dilemma is already familiar with many of the arguments put forth in Food, Inc. Both Eric Schlosser and to a larger extent, Michael Pollan were consultants on the making of this film and they appear in on screen interviews as well, but reading about the unsanitary conditions chickens are raised in is one thing; actually seeing them is another.

    Food, Inc. makes the point that if you only look at the picture labels of food items in the supermarket and take them at face value, you would think that your bread, meat, cereals and dairy products are all made on small farms by happy wholesome farmers.

    Food, Inc. shatters that delusion absolutely, completely and totally. Unless you actually buy your food from a farmer directly at his farm or roadside stand, you are getting over-processed crap from huge conglomerates who make more money now than at any time in American history, yet they are providing us consumers with more crap (literally in many cases) than at any other time.

    The big food conglomerates all say that the public have irrational ideas about where their food comes from and that's why they don't want anyone to see how they actually raise the crops and animals that feed us and they are right. If people saw the truth about where what they were putting into their mouths came from, there would be riots.

    Food, Inc. tries to show us that truth and it is hard to swallow, even though director Kenner presents his material in a calm and straightforward manner.

    I was particularly disturbed by a sequence where a meat processing company, in order to cut down on E-Coli bacteria in their product mixed their meat with another product that was simply ground beef and bleach, yes bleach, combined with beef to kill the bacteria.

    This made more sense to the food company than finding a way to cut down on the amount of cow feces mixed into the beef to begin with. Something is definitely wrong when my hamburger has to be mixed with Clorox to be safe.

    Contrary to what the food conglomerates think, there is no mental disconnect between the public knowing that the cows and chickens raised on farms for food are going to be killed, but no reasonable person wants to see any individual animals suffer unnecessarily.

    Seeing these big food conglomerates penning up animals hoof deep in their own excrement, chickens packed to the point of suffocation and force fed vitamins and antibiotics to make them grow abnormally fast and large and don't even think about the pigs, they seem to get the worst treatment of all.

    In the case of beef, it is almost a complete monopsony. Since McDonald's is probably the single largest purchaser of beef in the USA (maybe the world) as the single buyer, they pretty much have control of the market. Therefore, they can demand that anyone who sells them beef conform to their standards for meat.

    What's good about this is it makes for a uniform product.

    What's bad about this is it makes for a uniformly bad product.

    This is why a Big Mac tastes exactly the same in California as it does in New Jersey. I for one don't think that's a positive outcome.

    But Food, Inc. is not just a lecture on the horrors in hamburger. The film actually provides you with some options on better eating that are easy to follow and can make you feel empowered. We don't have to be passive consumers, there are things we as individuals can do to make sure we get the good food we deserve.

    But there are some moments in Food, Inc. that are truly sickening and I don't mean the shots of sick "downer cows" being ground up into Big Mac meat or the deformed chickens who can't even stand because of their unnaturally large breasts, no the moments that are the most sickening come from the all too human food industry Public Relations douche bags.

    Hearing their convoluted double-talk about how the conglomerates well funded attempts to fight having to label where their food products actually come from or whether they have been irradiated or have been genetically modified and how all of this is really just the food companies fighting for your right as a consumer to choose, is more nauseating than a mouthful of fecal contaminated cow slurry.
  • This film is broken into segments ranging from the seed, farmer, product, animal, FDA etc.

    Each segment could easily be an hour and half movie. I could understand that may be a little overwhelming, for that I would recommend watching another documentary "King Corn" first which is about corn.

    I found the "King Corn" knowledge helpful because "Food Inc" is so crammed with info that little things like why we grow so much corn and soybeans are just mentioned as subsidies without delving into too much detail. "King Corn" will fill in these gaps.

    However subsidies aside "Food Inc" is quite impressive in showing the Tyrannical Empire our food industries have become and how they control the farmer, the seed, the worker and even how they are regulated.

    Fantastic film.

    I would also recommend "The Real Dirt on Farmer John" it's a bit of a biography but entertaining and informative about how locally grown healthy food is not out of your reach.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    When I got back home from watching the utterly depressing documentary Food Inc., I booted up my computer to check my email, and the first headline I saw on the news site I use as my homepage, was a report on an outbreak of E. coli. The bacteria were apparently found in a sample of that vital staple of the modern American diet, chilled cookie dough. At that point, some dozen or so people were sick. I'm not sure which type of E. coli this report referred to specifically, but it seems there is a modern type of E. coli which causes internal bleeding in its victims, is often fatal and apparently didn't exist until we started pumping cattle full of corn (instead of grass or hay) to fatten them up faster. One of the film's most compelling 'stars' was a mother whose toddler died of E. coli infection after eating some hamburgers.

    To be honest, Food Inc. didn't really tell me anything I didn't know already, which is why I didn't give it 10. Meat production is no longer about happy smiling farmers chewing on straws, beside their plump, warm-bodied cows in sun filled, grassy fields. Or even about Marlboro smoking cowboys riding the range on trusty steeds, to round up stray mavericks while the sun sets over the western horizon. It's about feces encrusted cattle jammed cheek by jowl into manure filled feed lots, mile after mile after smelly mile, while we pump them full of subsidized corn, growth hormones and antibiotics and process them like so many slabs of raw industrial protein. And when we do process them, (a job usually carried out by cheap immigrant labor because none of us squeamish meat eaters want to do the job) the manure randomly falls off the cattle's hides and onto the meat where it festers until we cook it – or fail to cook it – and eat it. But don't worry, soon we may have a way to make sure no nasty bacteria remain on the meat….we're going to wash it all with another chemical to kill the bugs ( I forget…but was that REALLY caustic soda - sodium hydroxide? - Lovely eh?)

    Food Inc. doesn't just look at beef production, although that's probably the most compelling part of the film, because watching a mother try to recover from the death-by-food-poisoning of her toddler, by turning into Erin Brokovich and taking on the might of the food industry AND the government, is fairly riveting stuff. Food Inc. also looks at the chicken industry, GMO soy beans, and the ludicrous subsidies that have made nutritionally poor fast food far, far cheaper than anything remotely healthy. Like fruit and veg, whole grains or humanely produced meat. And not only that, the subsidies have underwritten the cost of grain exports (via NAFTA) to the extent that producers in developing countries can no longer compete in their home markets, putting farmers in places like Mexico out of work. So what do they do? They migrate – often illegally – to the USA to work in meat processing plants.

    And if you are a farmer trying to grow non GMO soy beans – or any crop really – please don't be silly enough to do it anywhere downwind of a GMO field, because if stray pollen happens to land in your field, and the mighty seed company finds evidence of their genes on your patch of ground, boy are you in trouble. Quite how you keep your crop GMO free under these circumstances is beyond me. But should anyone out there want non GMO food – well we can always import it from another country. And we do. Meanwhile Big Seed is putting out of business a centuries old small industrial practice that helps farmers save seed from year to year. If this were happening overseas, we would call it fascism.

    And in this manner, following individual cases, Michael Pollan (author of the excellent Omnivore's Dilemma) and maker of Fast Food Nation Eric Schlosser, show us how food production has strayed from being about producing, well, food, and has become a huge industrial operation controlled by a frighteningly small number of big businesses. Never mind Eisenhower's 1961 warning about the Military Industrial Complex. Why did no one warn us about the Agricultural Industrial Complex? The European Union's past obsession with industrializing food production is at least understandable given the horrendous WW2 shortages which led to rationing which continued for years after the war. But when did America ever have rationing? Truly a frightening and depressing movie. I'm a lucky middle class person. I have a garden where I grow veggies and I can afford to buy organic eggs and meat. I know not everyone can. But there must be some way to break this ludicrous vicious circle. When we see the people who are now existing on fast food use money they could – and should – be spending on fruit and veg to instead pay for their prescription drugs to treat the diseases they get – from eating fast food – something snaps in my head and I wonder if the whole world is totally and utterly bonkers? And on it goes.

    But, as the small scale organic farmer said as he processed some home grown chickens and pigs through his family run business (where people come to buy genuinely farm raised, grass fed meat after a 3 or 4 hour drive), "Don't say you can't afford $3 a dozen for organic eggs when you're standing there with a 75c can of coke in your hands….." Exactly. Eat less – mostly greens as Michael Pollan (approximately) says.
  • Greetings again from the darkness. Was reticent to see this one thinking I might never want to eat again. Much of what is in the film is not really new, but the entire segment on corn was really an eye opener.

    No real surprise that a few giant companies, with governmental subsidies, control our entire food market ... and that it run like a giant factory and not Grandpa's farm. Still it is painful to watch what the workers and animals and farmers are subjected to.

    The two messages we are left with - push the government for better controls and power by the FDA and USDA, and eat more organic food ... even if it is more expensive.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Food Inc. is the new brilliant documentary which should shock all Americans about what has become of our food supply. It begins with the camera slowly panning through a supermarket, focusing on row after row of sanitized food products. The point is made that there are only a few multi-national corporations who actually produce the vast majority of food products seen on our supermarket shelves today. They seek to lull a complacent public into believing that the food we eat is wholesome and is produced in the simple spirit of our agrarian forefathers. Of course, we soon see that their marketing seeks to cover up a much more sinister reality.

    Food Inc. first focuses on chicken production. The filmmakers got a hold of one chicken producer who raises chickens for Tyson Foods, perhaps the largest poultry provider in the country. The chicken producer was more than willing to show his behind-the scenes-operation until he was told by Tyson to shut up. It's obvious they didn't want him to show how the chickens were raised—thousands of them shut up in a building devoid of sunlight and being fed with cheap corn products to fatten them up. Today's chickens were contrasted with the chickens of yesteryear and today they are twice the size. They were able to interview a woman who raised chickens for Perdue. She apparently was fed up and refused to go along with Perdue's directives to raise her chickens using mass production techniques. But even with her more humane efforts, many of her chickens were dying due to antibiotic resistance. The woman herself indicated that she had developed health problems as a result of contact with these antibiotics. One of the film's revelations I wasn't aware of, was that these small businessmen are at the mercy of the conglomerates and if they don't do what they say, they'll be put out of business.

    Another segment involves a food safety crusader who lost her three year old to E Coli contamination after eating a tainted hamburger. She sponsors "Kevin's Law", named after her fallen son but gets little support in Congress due to the lobbying efforts of the food industry who have prevented passage of the bill.

    More shocking revelations abound including an extended segment on just how pervasive corn has not only been utilized as a cheap source of food for livestock (leading to the proliferation of manure that gets into our food supply) but also how it's used to create new processed food with little nutritional value. We also meet a lower middle-class Hispanic family who can't avoid eating fast food even though they're aware how unhealthy it is for them. The father is suffering from early onset Diabetes which is becoming one of the fastest growing health problems linked to eating unhealthy meals of processed food. The family not only doesn't have the time to shop for better foods but they don't have the money—so they end up going to McDonald's instead.

    Immigrant workers are also exploited by the multinationals who used to recruit farmers in Mexico who could no longer compete against the big food producers in the U.S. They shipped the workers here in droves where they're now economically dependent on these corporations despite working in horribly unsanitary conditions. Now with anti-immigrant sentiment running wild, a few token workers are rounded up everyday to appease the public and the corporations are never charged with hiring illegal help.

    The most shocking information we learn is the role of Monsanto Corporation monopolizing the soybean market. As a result of a Supreme Court decision, Monsanto now holds a 'patent' on their genetically modified soybean. They've ended up destroying the careers of small farmers by suing them for violation of their patents (Monsanto's soybean ends up as part of the farmers' crop so they're accused of infringement). What's worse is the long line of government officials, former Monstanto employees, who are now (and have been) in the highest positions in the Food and Drug Administration responsible for food safety oversight. Ten years ago, there were 50,000 food safety inspections a year—last year the FDA only authorized 9,000. And these officials weren't only appointed during the Bush administration. President Clinton also had a healthy share of these former Monsantoites working at the FDA.

    While Monsanto is clearly the biggest villain among many, Food Inc. attempts to highlight more productive people in the 'system'. One interview focuses on an organic livestock producer who feeds his cattle grass and not corn. While it's clear he treats his livestock better than the conglomerates, I'm not a believer in the idea of 'compassionate slaughter'. Why eat meat at all? There's also an interview with the president of Stonyfield Farms, famous for organic yogurt. He ended up selling out to Walmart but he feels it was a good thing since 'better' products were made available to the public on a mass scale. Again, the sale of any kind of dairy products (organic or not) is not a good thing in the long run for one's health.

    Food Inc. attempts to end on an optimistic note. It's up to the consumer to choose more healthy food. The example of successful consumer action is cited in the case of the tobacco industry which was brought down after the public woke up to the deleterious effects of its products. Until the public is willing to look behind the veil of unhealthy food production in this country, they will continue to enjoy bad meals at McDonald's and other nefarious 'restaurants'. Food Inc. is one of those rare documentaries which can open peoples' eyes—and that's not easy to do!
  • There have been many documentaries to hit the scene in the past few years that have impacted its audiences in one way or another. Some of become a cultural phenomenon and have hit home especially because it's been things we have experienced either first handed or we ourselves deem them "important." Fahrenheit 9/11, Bowling for Columbine, Super Size Me, and even March of the Penguins are things that we "think" our government places up on top of their priority lists and our filmmakers of today are tackling. I will say this, and I can't see myself saying it again for some time; this is the most terrifying and important documentary I have seen in years.

    Telling of the hypocrisy and nearly despicable life we lead everyday because of what corruption does and how far it goes up in our society, Food Inc tackles the subject of the food industry in a way I've never experienced before. There are so many important points that the picture makes, telling them in a film review wouldn't be enough nor do it justice. I can't explain it thoroughly or good enough for any of you to understand. Just know, according to the film, we are living as prisoners in a very scary country. The economy is bad but this has been going on long before it turned downward. This will definitely make you think twice before placing another piece of anything in your mouth.

    The film, directed by Robert Lenner, explores all sides of the spectrum. Forget Democrats, Republicans, all of them, this film shows how everybody's hands are dirty. From a death of a child, to a certain governor of California vetoing something that could have changed our perspective on food forever, Food Inc. Tells it all. In the most beautiful and simplistic style of documentary film-making I have seen all year, Kenner's keen eye to detail and structure of the picture is extraordinary. The Documentary Oscar SHOULD belong to Food Inc. period.

    Food Inc is so brutal in its delivery yet it remains fundamentally important the entire film. Cheaper food is not the bargain but this food for thought is. Food Inc. is one of the best films of the year.

  • Food, Inc. The Movie Brilliant eye opener is all I can say. Food scares, Government controlled (no surprise there), extremely informative and captivating are words I'd use to describe this movie/documentary.

    My family and I have been aware of the benefits of good food for years. I've even turned a few times to veganism but every so often my body craved animal protein so I'd respect it. As a result, I wouldn't call myself a vegetarian (maybe part time if that's still respectable). My family however has remained meat eaters. My choice there has always been protein from poultry. I do not eat beef or pork. Again, it isn't something that is eaten on a daily basis in our family anyway. Variety is the key.

    We wanted to watch the movie however were scared (as a lot of people I'm sure) that we'd never want to eat meat again. It actually didn't do that at all. What it's changed is where we buy meat and who we choose to support. Regarding the corn situation, it's always been a concern due to corn intolerance in some of us. The corn story told in the movie had a major impact on my partner. He was so angry at how Mexicans were unfairly and poorly treated. Working in the meat packing industry himself, he knows the dedication and hard work it requires from their workers. Oddly enough we don't eat products from his company so hush… don't tell anyone…lol Lastly, we are talking about getting a Blue Ray DVD player next year. Although we don't have it yet; my first blue ray DVD that I will get for myself, despite all the great movies available, is this movie. Even the kids 7-9-11 loved it and watched with great attention.

    It had a huge impact on me and my health (IBS). With all the new changes in our diet and lifestyle I feel so much better now than I have in the last 20 years since I was diagnosed when I was 14 years old. This movie is not just about the meat and the corn but it's about all foods and the impact on ourselves, our planet and future.

    Thanks to everyone who worked on this film.

    Best regards, Pascal Labillois Toronto, Canada
  • We've all heard and know the dangers of food in this country from hearing news health reports and seeing films like "Super Size Me" and reading books like "Fast Food Nation" who's author appears in this film. Yet still we Americans love the good old sweet, and sugar and delicious taste of food that's put in our supermarkets and restaurants. However after watching this doc "Food, Inc." you will think a little bit more about what your eating the next time as this film shows the wicked process that many foods go thru before they reach your mouth. Most chilling is how the industry is controlled by corporations who are more interested in profit and making money than people's health.

    Starting off it shows and even interviews many chicken farmers who tell the horrifying tales of how chickens are hit and injected with steroid to be made bigger and fatter before slaughter so that it's more tasty and fatter when it hits the plate of a hungry mate. Also interesting and yet gross is how cows are shot up with hormones and then given the ever popular and tasty corn syrup before they are butchered. This all happens before they are processed to meat which due to the injections and chemical infections causes cases of death and other food sickness from being poisoned to catching diseases. Most disturbing is the words from a mother who lost a young son after he eat three hamburgers and became infected with death.

    Still you see during the film it's an on going fight with the food industry as it's powerful and very cunning for the very way that they fight traditional farmers by making them use their own corporate chemical seed. As one farmer is nearly bankrupt in his lawsuit against a company as he tries to save his own plantings of original seed. And still as many fight and lobby congress many from the food giant companies are lobbyist and heads of committees and with their interactions with politicians always bills are passed in favor for the food companies.

    Too the industry is clever as it's use of corn syrup in everything makes for the need to make those products more cheap than lets say organic food or home grown. And you see how the food factories work their workers to death for low wages too as they profit more from the more beef that's butchered with fewer employees.

    This film is interesting and informative it shows just how greedy and money hungry the food industry is. As money is put over health, it was interesting to see how the process of food is done and very revealing was the premium the industry puts on corn syrup. And very cruel to see was the slaughter of pigs, cattle, and chicken yet even more cruel was the injections and feeding of corn and hormones before slaughter. Yet the film does show hope by showing the world of organic food, and it encourages us to lobby congress for better food laws. Most telling was that of a Virginia farmer who still raises food the old fashion way with environment and grass weed he stays away from the process of high tech injections. Good doc that will make you feel guilty the next time you eat, as when you buy out of the supermarket next or take that bite off of your plate you will think about the corrupt and nasty way it was processed even though it still taste juicy and sweet.
  • Robert Kenner's documentary "Food, Inc." sounds like something you've heard of before. When Eric Schlosser's book "Fast Food Nation" first woke America up to the horrific way that fast food meat is processed and Morgan Spurlock's documentary "Super Size Me" exposed the deadly health concerns of too much fast food, most Americans began to associate fast food with unhealthy food. The organic food movement began to take off and most well- educated Americans began to take what's in their food more seriously. But it hasn't been enough -- "Food, Inc." breaks down why in this highly educational investigative film.

    The documentary highlights the problem on a corporate scale. Although we appear to have a wealth of options at the supermarket, just because we're not buying from the big companies or going to the fast food restaurants as much doesn't mean we're not buying from the same process. The food industry has changed so much over the last 50 years because of the big companies that the way cattle, chicken and pigs are raised have completely changed. The battle for healthier and safer food goes beyond choosing fast food.

    Kenner visits chicken farmers who are basically controlled by the big industry names. Not moving toward more engineering and efficiency is cause for loss of contract. These farmers are constantly in debt to meet these standards imposed by the major brands and thus have to meet them in order to work out of debt. He talks to a soybean cleaner being run out of business by Monsanto, the company that engineered a pesticide-resistant soybean and won the right to enforce that patent so that no farmer could save an unused engineered bean.

    The strength of the food lobby and the business people making the policy decisions in government is incredible. Kenner shows us how protected they are, reminding us of when Oprah was sued for saying she wouldn't eat another burger on her show and had to fight forever before winning the case. The disconnect between the decision-makers and the farmers is vast.

    "Food, Inc." also tries to inform us as much as possible for ways to instigate change, rather than let us be completely overwhelmed by the apparent lack of control both the public and farmers have over food production. There are people out there fighting (such as the mother- turned-advocate of a boy who died of e.coli infection) and there's proof that consumer choice can drive even the giants like Wal-Mart to do things like only provide milk from cows without growth hormone.

    It also doesn't lean on the many possible gross-out factors. If you've been eating processed meat all your life, you won't come out of this film saying "I'm going to be a vegetarian," but you'll be wiser when it comes to your food purchases and who you support (namely organic and local brands) when you are at the grocery store.

    Food production has changed so much that it feels like "Food, Inc." is opening up a huge can of worms in terms of just how much is wrong with the process, but the awareness that it will create in each of its viewers is enough to justify the documentary's broad scope.

    ~Steven C Visit my site at
  • Food inspections dropped dramatically under the Bush administration. I'm shocked. What would you expect when you appoint someone from the food industry to head the agency that inspects food.

    Food is big business now. There are few small family farms,; most food is grown according to spec. You do it the way the food giants tell you or you are out of business.

    I used to live where 25% of the beef in America is fattened. There were one million cows a year coming through a town of 15,000. They stood all day in ankle-deep shite.

    And, don't try to diss the industry or their lawyers will come at you like a ton of bricks. It was fun to see everyone trying to get on the taping of the Oprah show while she was in town being sued. She can afford big time lawyers that you and I can't.

    An interesting question: Why can you buy a double cheeseburger at McDonald's for 99 cents, and you can't buy a pound of broccoli for that price? Not all food questions are answers, but there is enough information here that you will be an informed consumer.
  • pepekwa24 March 2010
    I was expecting more from this movie, I really learnt nothing from this that I didn't already know. I was expecting to at least see the inside of a battery hen farm or see live footage of sick cows being slaughtered but all they could get was one farmer showing us the outside of a pen and saying he couldn't show us inside and library footage of other poor cattle conditions. There were also repeated shots of a plane's view of a massive cattle ranch.

    There were no interviews or even attempts to interview (a la michael moore) any major reps of meat packing companies and this seemed like one big plug for the organic food industry which was summed up in the closing credits.

    All-in-all, a disappointment as the movie didn't really deliver its premise, this was lazy investigative journalism
  • I put 10/10 because this information is invaluable. And it's about time a major distributor has taken on such topics. The food industry certainly has it's reasons, especially the almighty dollar, and to be fair I think this movie kept that into perspective. Yet demonetization of these multi-national organizations was inevitable because of the undesirable effects of such gross over production.

    The movie was tactful and at times utterly horrifying. To me, this was nothing new. The movie lacked essential information, was riddled with questionable assertions, contained a few logical fallacies, and was completely adulterated with naturalistic philosophy. It also tows the global warming line as well. Aside from it's shortcomings, it is going to be powerful in its own right to those who are new to the subject.

    With such backing and credibility, hopefully this can reach those in the darkness. Our modern social climate is inundated with massive propaganda, so much that many have began to seek answers amidst the chaos. To those I hope this is but a small step to a much larger journey. In all assurances, the rabbit hole is much deeper.
  • Took my little bro to this movie - he usually doesn't give a crappe about ANYTHING.

    But he was TOTALLY GADSMACKED by this movie, and THAT says A lot. He and so many of his peers don't give a S*** about much of anything, ESPECIALLY their diet.

    I dare say he's CHANGING NOW.

    This documentary presents so much information we think we already heard in a brilliant, revealing EYE-OPENING way. The stories are completely MESMERIZING and compelling. You will not be able to turn away.

    The illogic of those GMO "food" companies in power will make your skin crawl. They DON'T CARE a WHIT about YOU. Just the bucks you can give them, and the lusty POWER of dominion over you.

    The AMAZING thing is THIS - it wouldn't surprise me AT ALL if the KIDS of these Monsanto execs and power lawyers EAT ORGANIC HEALTHY DELICIOUS stuff while they shove crappe down your throat.

    Just a thought. I doubt they raise THEIR kids on chem-a-crap burgers from sick steers.

    What do YOU think? SUFFICE it to say, yeah a bit peeved so apologies...

    GO SEE THIS MOVIE - you will be SO GLAD you did. And mebbe if you're lucky, will CHANGE YOUR LIFE.


    And when you're feeling better, also go and see the movie "HOME." It's a visually STUNNING and magnificent movie and will take your breath away.
  • Food Inc is a food documentary about the unsavory side of the food industry. One of the best quotes is the farmer that supplies pork for Chipotle about letting pigs be pigs and chickens be chickens. Not meant to be funny, but pretty hysterical! Something that everyone should see and a reminder that you vote about where your food comes from three times a day. Buy local, buy from farmers you know. We can all do it if we choose to.
  • The Food Inc. documentary directed by Robert Kenner shows the many problems in the food industry. The documentary displays the facts in a straight and simple manner. After seeing the film, it made me think twice about what I was buying at the supermarket. My family and I started shopping at Whole Foods and the Fresh Market because we are more conscious about the food we eat now. Last year I saw this film for the first time and it got me thinking about organic foods. The documentary talks about choosing organic over inorganic frequently. I also did an essay for school on whether you should choose organic or inorganic foods because the film got me interested in which one to buy. I thought this was a good documentary because it made me take action and it made me tell other people about it. The director achieved his aim which was to change the way you think about your food. What made the film affective was the use of actual footage of the chickens and cows. I think it's disgusting how the animals are being treated and slaughtered. The documentary was made years ago and there still aren't people changing the way they are being slaughtered or kept. Also, this documentary reminded me of the movie Supersize Me. Supersize Me is directed by Morgan Spurlock, it shows him eating McDonalds for a month and he documents his weight and health. There's one scene that reminded me of Food Inc., which was when he talked about how McDonald's chicken McNuggets are made. Kenner used the same animations as Spurlock and I think those kinds of visuals really hit home to the viewer. Overall, I thought this was a good documentary that informed the viewer on the issues in the food industry. I recommend this film to every person because I think everybody should know where there food comes from and how it's being made. We never think about where our food came from. This film will definitely change how you view food.
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