Let me try to capture the major points of the film.
The entire point of the film is that food production in this country has changed drastically in the past 50 years. There is an illusion of variety in the supermarket. You see many different brands and variations, but they are actually all brought to you by the same few companies. Our produce is no longer true and natural. Tomatoes are picked green and kept ripe by a gas. The film even says that it's not really a tomato. "It's the IDEA of a tomato." Packaging of food leads you to believe that food is brought to you by an all-American farm. The pastoral image of green grass, a red barn, and a tan-faced farmer. This is a sham. There is a "veil" between us and the reality of our food production. Food, Inc. is trying to lift that veil. First of all, I don't see this documentary as an extreme scare tactic. I have heard these same concerns from other sources. Jillian Michaels said the SAME THING in her presentation I watched May 12. I have watched King Corn, another documentary that discusses similar points. So, if this is your first time seeing the truth about our food, then you will probably doubt a lot of the information that is presented to you. However, if you see the information time after time (like me), you will start to realize that this is a reality.
FAST FOOD'S INFLUENCE
The McDonald's brothers started as a drive-in. They streamlined the fast food industry by not delivering to a car, but creating an assembly line type of food preparation within the restaurant. For example, instead of having cooks manage the entire kitchen, McDonald's would hire and train a burger flipper (literally). Another worker would work on dropping fries into grease. Another worker would be in charge of bagging up the food. Train one worker to do just one thing again and again and again. This was a cheaper production method. The American food industry took this model and applied it to our meat and produce industry.
Fast food chains became huge. They buy most of the food from our food industry. They want cheap food to be able to sell us a $3 hamburger. So, the meat industry, for example, caters to the fast food chains. In 1970, the top 5 beef factories controlled only about 25% of the market. Today, the top 4 (Tyson, Swift, Cargill, and National Beef) control 80% of the market. Food companies are huge and powerful.
Let's talk about chicken. Birds are now raised to slaughter in less time. In 1950, it took 70 days to grow a chicken. In 2008 it took 48 days. This is because of the hormones in the chicken. Also, Americans prefer white meat. Science and technology has been used to redesign the chicken to have larger breasts. They've also changed the chicken farmer. Farmers have chicken farms, but the large companies own the product: the chickens. They have requirements and demands on the farmers to create a product that the large company will want to buy. It's about money: Produce a lot of food on a small amount of land at the most affordable price. They toured a couple of different chicken farms. The farmers were not allowed to show inside their chicken houses because the large company threatened to revoke their contract. One farmer, Carole, defied this and showed her chicken houses. Her contract was later revoked. Major things that affected me: the chickens never see sunlight. The chickens are so large, they can't walk more than two steps. Their organs and skeletal system cannot keep up. Many die too soon. It's not clean.
Corn is in everything. Fertilizers and pesticides make it possible to grow an amazing amount of corn on an acre. Corn is cheap. This is where you should watch King Corn. It's amazing how fake the actual corn product is. Corn is in ketchup, cheese, Twinkies, batteries, peanut butter, Cheez-its, salad dressing, Coke, jelly, Sweet & Low, syrup, juice, Kool-Aid, charcoal, Motrin, diapers, meat, and fast food. The corn kernel can be broken down and reconfigured to create high -fructose corn syrup. This is where you look at the food labels. When you see words like: cellulose, calcium stearate, saccharin, sucrose, maltodextrin, gluten, citrus cloud emulsion, di-glycerides, fructose, sorbic acid, starch, citric acid, ethel acetate, xanthan gum, ethyl lactate, sobital, etc. These are all variations of the corn kernel that have been chemically altered to create a sugar of some kind. THIS IS WHY I EAT CLEAN, PEOPLE!!!! What makes it worse? We feed this fake corn product to cows, chickens, pigs, and even fish. Think about it. Cows aren't supposed to eat corn. They are supposed to eat grass. Our meat is poisoned by this stuff. It's all about making a fatter animal that is ready for slaughter faster.
There is a portion of the film that deals with a mother who lost her 2-year-old son because of a meat contamination. He was dead within 12 days of eating it. Mother didn't know why he died until the meat recall was published 16 days after her son's death. She is now lobbying Washington to make changed to the federal requirements of meat factories.
THE DOLLAR MENU
Families live in poverty. They can go to a fast food dollar menu and feed a family of 5 for $11. It showed a family going into the grocery store and weighing produce. The family cannot afford broccoli. The burger is cheaper. The dad is on hundreds of dollars worth of medication. Our population as a whole has a multitude of food-based health problems.
Their product simply costs more and people don't want to pay for it. Every thing is grass based. The cows eat grass. The cow mows by eating, she produces fertilizer (manure), etc. Organic farmers keep integrity in the food. If people were allowed to see the industrialized food factories, people wouldn't want to buy the food. That's why the veil exists.
The "cheap" cost of food is a mystique. There is environmental cost, societal cost, health cost. There is nothing honest about that food. It's not grown honestly, it's not priced honestly, it's not marketed honestly. There is a push for organic food now. Major companies like Kellogg, General Mills, Walmart. They are now acquiring organic products. For example, Kashi is now a Kellogg product. Does that compromise the integrity of Kashi? Does Kellogg force Kashi to actually be less organic than it once was? The question was raised in the film, but not answered. All in all, it is great that organic products are becoming available in our supermarkets. It used to be that you would have to buy local farm meat or local product to get organic.
Films like this solidify my conviction in buying organic. I want to buy food that was produced honestly. I want eggs from chickens who have seen sunlight. I want chicken breasts that are a natural size. I want grass-fed beef. I will buy organic from now on. Done. I first went into this diet thing as a means to lose weight. Did I lose weight? Sure. But I also became more educated about what I was eating and I realized that it's not only about caloric intake. It is very important to eat natural food. Anything sweetened is a chemical shit storm. I will go ahead and take this moment to argue my stance on Weight Watchers. They promote a point system. I get it. It's about caloric intake. However, when I see someone eating a flavored low-fat yogurt with the "WW 2 points" sticker on it, I cringe. That is a chemical disaster! Weight Watchers seems to promote and encourage processed food diets and a lack of true vegetable/protein/carbohydrate balance. Anyway, losing weight or not, start with clean eating and then reduce calories from there.