Hungry For Change: Food Inc. Video

You’ll never look at dinner the same way.

No kidding. I don’t now – that’s why I started this blog and belong to GE Free BC. After watching this video I feel even sicker. You can watch the trailer for it here: Food Inc.

“Monsanto has a team of private investigators that kinda roam the country and
they have a little 1-800 hotline … if you save your own seed, you’re gonna get a
call from Monsanto.”
Troy Roush, VP, American Corn Growers Association, on what’s happening
behind the scenes to America’s farmers.

LONG SYNOPSIS

How much do we know about the food we buy at our local supermarkets and
serve to our families? Though our food appears the same—a tomato still looks
like a tomato—it has been radically transformed.

In Food, Inc., producer-director Robert Kenner and investigative authors Eric
Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) and Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma) lift
the veil on the U.S. food industry – an industry that has often put profit ahead of
consumer health, the livelihoods of American farmers, the safety of workers and
our own environment.

With the use of animation and compelling graphics, the filmmakers expose the
highly mechanized, Orwellian underbelly that’s been deliberately hidden from the
American consumer.

They reveal how a handful of corporations control our nation’s food supply.
Though the companies try to maintain the myth that our food still comes from
farms with red barns and white picket fences, our food is actually raised on
massive “factory farms” and processed in mega industrial plants.  The animals
grow fatter faster and are designed to fit the machines that slaughter them.
Tomatoes are bred to be shipped without bruising and to stay edible for months.
The system is highly productive, and Americans are spending less on food than
ever before.  But at what cost?

Cattle are given feed that their bodies are not biologically designed to digest,
resulting in new strains of E. coli bacteria, which sickens roughly 73,000
Americans annually.  And because of the high proliferation of processed foods
derived from corn, Americans are facing epidemic levels of diabetes among
adults and alarming increases in obesity, especially among children.

And, surprisingly, all of it is happening right under the noses of our government’s
regulatory agencies, the USDA and the FDA.  The film exposes a “revolving
door” of executives from giant food corporations in and out of Washington D.C.
that has resulted in a lack of oversight and illuminates how this dysfunctional
political system often operates at the expense of the American consumer.

In the nation’s heartland, farmers have been silenced – afraid to talk about what’s
happening to the nation’s food supply for fear of retaliation and lawsuits from
giant corporations.

Our laws today are such that corporations are allowed to patent seeds for crops.
As a result, Monsanto, the former chemical company that manufactured Agent
Orange and DDT – in a span of 10 years – has landed its patented gene in 90%
of the nation’s soybean seeds. Farmers are now forbidden to save and reuse
these seeds and must instead buy new seed from Monsanto each season.

Armed with a team of employees dedicated to enforcing their seed patents,
Monsanto spends millions every year to investigate, intimidate and sue farmers —
many of whom are financially unable to fight the corporation.

Food, Inc. also introduces us to courageous people who refuse to helplessly
stand by and do nothing.  Some, like Stonyfield Farm’s Gary Hirshberg and
Polyface Farm’s Joel Salatin, are finding ways to work inside and outside the
system to improve the quality of our food.  Others are brave men and women
who have chosen to speak out, such as chicken farmer Carole Morison, seed
cleaner Moe Parr and food safety advocate Barbara Kowalcyk. Their stories,
both heartbreaking and heroic, serve to demonstrate the level of humanity and
commitment it takes to fight the corporations that control the food industry.

It’s important to note that the filmmakers attempted to interview representatives
from Monsanto, Tyson, Perdue and Smithfield, but they all declined.

Food, Inc. illustrates the dangers of a food system controlled by powerful
corporations that don’t want you to see, to think about or to criticize how our food
is made.  The film reveals how complicated and compromised the once simple
process of growing crops and raising livestock to feed ourselves and our families
has become. But, it also reminds us that despite what appears to be at times a
hopeless situation, each of us still has the ability to vote on this issue every day –
at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

SOUNDBYTES AND SUBJECTS

The voices of Food, Inc. are food experts, farmers, businessmen, government
representatives and food advocates, all of whom have helped to reveal
where our food comes from and how it is made.  Here is a sampling of their key
quotes from the film along with brief information about them:

“There is this deliberate veil, this curtain that’s drawn between us and
where our food is coming from.  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.”

“Not only do they not want you to know what’s in it, they have managed to
make it against the law to criticize their products … In Colorado, it’s a
felony if you’re convicted under a veggie libel law.  So you could go to
prison for criticizing the ground beef that’s being produced in the state of
Colorado.”

“You look at the labels and you see farmer this, farmer that. It’s really just
three or four companies that are controlling the meat.  We’ve never had
food companies this big and this powerful in our history.”
– Eric Schlosser, author of “Fast Food Nation.”

Food, Inc. was the brainchild of Schlosser and director/producer Robert
Kenner. Schlosser, who is a highly regarded investigative journalist and
author, was instrumental in the film’s research as well as providing his
expertise and opening doors to his impressive list of industry contacts for
the filmmakers.

“The way we eat has changed more in the last 50 years than in the previous
10,000, but the image that’s used to sell the food … you go into the
supermarket and you see pictures of farmers.  The picket fence and the silo
and the 1930s farmhouse and the green grass.  The reality is … it’s not a
farm, it’s a factory. That meat is being processed by huge multi-national
corporations that have very little to do with ranches and farmers.”

“All those snack food calories are the ones that come from the commodity
crops, from the wheat, from the corn, and from the soybeans.  By making
those calories really cheap, it’s one of the reasons that the biggest
predictor of obesity is income level.”

“Cows are not designed by evolution to eat corn. They’re designed by
evolution to eat grass. And the only reason we feed them corn is because
corn is really cheap and corn makes them fat quickly … The industrial food system is always looking for greater efficiency.  But each new step in efficiency leads to problems.  If you take feedlot cattle off their corn diet, give them grass for five days, they will shed eighty percent of the E. coli in
their gut.”
— Michael Pollan, author of “In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto,” which
bowed in January, 2008

Pollan is an award-winning journalist and world-renown food expert who has
authored five books, including “The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of
Four Meals.”  The book, which was named one of the 10 best books of the year
by The New York Times and the Washington Post, was used as reference
material by the filmmakers for this film.  His other books include “Second Nature,”
“A Place of My Own” and “The Botany of Desire.”

“I understand why farmers don’t want to talk because companies can do
what it wants to do as far as pay goes because they control everything.
But … something has to be said.”
— Carole Morison, a courageous chicken farmer growing for Perdue in Maryland
who – despite fear of retaliation – spoke out when no other farmer in the area
would.

Morison brings the filmmakers inside a chicken farm so Americans can see first
hand what antibiotics and high-tech breeding are doing to the nation’s chickens.
It used to take a chick three months to grow into adulthood, but with the
chemicals put into the feed by the big industrialized food companies, the chicks
grow in only 45 days and develop oversized breasts.  Morison shows how it has
affected the chickens — some of the chickens can no longer stand and die before
they are brought to market.

Carole subsequently lost her contract and is now left with few options. She is
considering the worst-case scenario:  Selling the family farm.

“We reduced funding for the FDA and rely increasingly on self-policing for all of
these industries, and now we just have really lost our system.”
— Congresswoman Diana DeGette (D-Colorado), one of the champions for food
safety in D.C.

“We put faith in our government to protect us, and we’re not being protected at
the most basic level.”
— Barbara Kowalcyk, a heroic mother whose 2 1/2 year old child Kevin died from
E. coli. She has since become a food safety advocate, fighting to give the USDA
back its power to shut down plants that repeatedly produce contaminated meats.

Barbara and her mother, Patricia Buck, have pushed for the “Kevin’s Law” bill to
become law since 2002.  It still has not passed.

“Imagine what it would be if, as a national policy, we said we would be only
successful if we had fewer people going to the hospital next year than last year?
The idea then would be to have such nutritionally dense, unadulterated food that
people who ate it actually felt better, had more energy and weren’t sick as much
…  now, see, that’s a noble goal.”
— Joel Salatin, owner/farmer of Polyface Farms in Virginia, which lets his
livestock graze on grass, the way nature intended.

“Monsanto has a team of private investigators that kinda roam the country and
they have a little 1-800 hotline … if you save your own seed, you’re gonna get a
call from Monsanto.”
— Troy Roush, VP, American Corn Growers Association, on what’s happening
behind the scenes to America’s farmers.

“I found it necessary to get up at 3 or 4 in the morning before the (private)
investigators are on the road following me.”
– Moe Parr, an Indiana man who was sued by Monsanto for inducing farmers to
violate patents by seed cleaning – a practice utilized by farmers for thousands of
years.  Parr, who has been a seed cleaner for 25 years, was subsequently
pushed out of the seed business.

“The irony is that the average consumer does not feel very powerful. They
think that they are the recipients of whatever industry has put there for
them to consume.  Trust me, it’s the exact opposite.  Those businesses
spend billions of dollars to tally our votes.  When we run an item past the
supermarket scanner, we’re voting.”
– Gary Hirshberg, founder of Stonyfield Farm.  Hirshberg began with a seven-
cow farm and grew his business into the No. 3 yogurt provider in the country.

“Actually, it’s a pretty easy decision to try to support things like organics
or whatever it might be based on what the consumer wants.  We see that
and we react to it.   If it’s clear that the customer wants it, it’s really easy to
get behind it and to push forward and try to make that happen.”
— Tony Airosa, chief dairy purchaser for the nation’s largest retailer, Wal-Mart, which
recently began carrying organically-produced food in its store.  Wal-Mart has since
stopped carrying milk containing growth hormone.

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