If you've seen the movie, please post your remarks.
Unfortunately, I'll have to wait until it comes out on DVD to see it in Tasmania!
May 10, 2010 - 10:30PM
Genre Documentary Actors Gary Hirshberg, Michael Pollan, Joel Salatin, Troy Roush, Eric Schlosser Director Robert Kenner OFLC rating PG THIS is an important film. It’s a warning. Don’t follow the US down the path of food self-regulation. It leads to a nightmarish dystopia where children are killed by burgers, where the raising of animals under appalling conditions happens behind closed doors and where illegal immigrants are poorly paid to mistreat animals under conditions almost as inhumane to them. It’s a nation where if you try to tell the world about the dirty, dirty ways of the big food companies that control US food production, they will silence you with a phalanx of lawyers. In one state you can be jailed.
This 94-minute film, at its core, is a visualisation of two groundbreaking books: Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation and Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Both appear in the film along with farmers including Joel Salatin with Schlosser as co-executive producer.
This polished shockumentary graphically and disturbingly reveals the unintended consequences of the concentration of food production to just a handful of massive companies, with processed genetically modified corn and soy as the basis of the national diet.
Shame, rage and sadness are evoked by Food, Inc.’s telling of unseen costs of the US government’s corn subsidy. Cheap subsidised corn is fed to cattle – animals evolved to eat grass. Their stomachs’ react, producing too much acid – the perfect environment for a new deadly strain of E. coli to develop. This pathogen is carried in manure, which covers the animals’ hides in feedlots and then infects meat in mechanised disassembly lines. The infected meat sickens and kills Americans, including children. As a result American beef companies are making ‘‘safe’’ hamburger meat filler by treating the beef — with ammonia hydroxide. Seventy per cent of US hamburgers contain beef treated with ammonia.
The film covers the devastating impact of genetically modified patent laws in traditional farming that sees some crops now 90 per cent dominated by GM seeds owned by chemical companies. Seventy per cent of food on US supermarket shelves contains an ingredient made from a GM plant.
The result of cheap un-nutritious food is a fat nation where one in three people born after 2000 will develop type 2 diabetes. One in two Hispanics. The film follows one Hispanic family who dine on burgers in the car because they have no time to cook — and a burger is cheaper than two pears or a head of broccoli.
Flashy computer graphics give mind-numbingly sad statistics of an unhealthy national diet an acceptable ‘‘look’’ while the soundtrack, like any Hollywood product, gives us emotional cues. The ominous low-frequency drone under the mechanised abattoir scene gives way to country birdcall soundscape under the footage of killing free-range chickens at Joel Salatin’s farm.
The footage of animal cruelty and gross mass production of industrial food is gut-turning.
‘‘The industry doesn’t want you to know the truth about what you are eating,’’ says Schlosser in the film.
‘‘Because if you did, you might not want to eat it.’’
Food, inc. has been described as The Inconvenient Truth of food. Let’s hope this has more effect on our politicians.
Food, Inc. opens nationally on May 20.
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