This 2008 informative documentary deals with how what we eat has changed more in the last 50 years than in the previous 10,000. Considering than the average American supermarket has about 40,000 products and that almost every one of them is available all the time, we would not suspect the food industry guilty of concealing what we are really eating. According to director Robert Kenner, if we knew we wouldn’t eat it.
The revolution led by McDonald’s and others in the fast food world, increased vastly the demand for ground beef. Now the meat doesn’t come from farms anymore, but from factories that use the assembly line method to cut, pack, and ship the dead animals to the supermarkets and food chains. The documentary reports that at one of the major slaughterhouses in the country, 32,000 hogs are killed per day, 2,000 every hour, and birds are raised and slaughtered in half the time they were 50 years ago, and now they are twice as big. Besides, they are overweight, overcrowded, and living in dark houses riddled with feces.
Michael Pollan, author of the book The Omnivore Dilemma, questions how come fast food is four times cheaper than vegetables. In another segment, Pollan also explains how corn-fed cows have become infected by a mutation of the E. coli bacteria that secreted in their manure contaminates their bodies and ours. We see the consequences of this in a case of one young healthy boy whose mother tells how he died, 12 days after eating a contaminated hamburger. The meat processing company didn’t recalled the product until 16 days after the child’s death. His mother has become an active advocate for food safety regulations since then.
Consultant and author of Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser states that the regulatory agencies which are supposed to protect us are being controlled by the companies that need to be scrutinized in the first place. Our government agencies are basically ineffective when applying regulations to this powerful industry, eroding our faith in any government protection.
This film explores the rise of organic food, exposes the role of the company which owns the patent of a soybean seed and has ties to high officials in Republican and Democratic Administrations, and shows the unfair fight of independent farmers against this monopoly. The documentary gives us a glimpse of the positive alternatives, the people who are making a difference, and the choices we can make to change things.
I assure you, after you watch, you’ll be hungry for a change.