Watch this movie! Food, Inc.

Last night, we followed a friend's suggestion (she knew I'd been reading on diet and lifestyle topics) and watch Robert Kenner's gripping movie, "Food, Inc." A lot of the movie's background came from two books I've read recently: Michael Pollan's, The Omnivore's Dilemma, (I've blogged on one of his other books before), and Eric Schlosser's Fast Food Nation. It's an amazing movie and my wife, after watching it, said she wants us to change our shopping habits even more than we have already.

Pollan narrates much of the movie with vignette's from others. He leads us through the changes in our diets made in the last fifty years, largely guided by the food industry, how a few multinational corporations make up an amazingly large proportion of it  and the issues with the "foods" we now eat as a result. One of the spotlighted exceptions is a wonderful farm in Virginia, Polyface Farms, run by Joel Salatin. I remembered reading about this farm in Pollan's book; he'd tried to order from them and was told they wouldn't ship ourside their immediate region. I Googled this farm and found links to organic-food buying clubs in Virginia and elsewhere

The majority of the film talks about and shows us the mega-farm and huge CAFO-dominated American food industry (CAFO means concentrated animal feeding operation) and Pollan describes in considerable detail some of the potential dire consequences of our eating food produced by them. A typical hamburger, Pollan says, for example, has pieces from thousands of cows, some of which could have been ill. He also tells of the interweaving of senior personnel between these huge food producers and the agencies (USDA and FDA especially) that are charged with regulating them. A moving section of the movie shows a woman who recounts how her young son died after eating a burger tainted with E Coli O157H7 She was filmed visiting a Congresswoman to try to influence food-safety regulation.

I'd rate this as a "Don't Miss" movie; it may change your life.

5 Responses to “Watch this movie! Food, Inc.”

  1. The way I understand it, E Coli lives on the outside of cuts of meat, transferred there during the handling and cutting process from feces residue on the beef carcass. The reason ground meat is so much more dangerous than other cuts is that the E Coli bacteria is distributed throughout the final product in the grinder. If the meat cutting department of a packer or grocery store does not thoroughly clean its grinder(s) after each use, contamination can extend far beyond the meat that might have been originally contaminated. Knowing this makes it very difficult for me to buy ground beef or to eat a hamburger from a restaurant.

    I haven't seen Food, Inc. yet but will add it to my list -- although I'll probably end up with more products on my "do not eat" list. I think I'll start experimenting with indoor gardening at my south-facing windows.

  2. Peter Springberg says:

    Hi Pat,
    Hi Pat,
    I agree with your analysis of how E Coli gets to us as consumers of meat; that's why I can still eat a rare steak, but use ground beef in meat loaf or add it to spaghetti sauce after thoroughly cooking it. I used to eat hamburgers cooked rare; alas, no more.
    We recently purchased a relatively small amount of grass fed, grass finished Beefmaster beef from a small Colorado company; that way I can rely on getting ground meat that's from their cows only. It's also organic and antibiotic-free. We previously purchased an entire young sheep and a bison, putting together groups of families to do so, that were similarly raised.

  3. Just read an article this morning that said grass-fed beef is healthiest. I'll have to look into the Colorado grown Beefmaster beef. Sounds like the way to go.

  4. Dave says:

    Such a wonderful description! No idea how you wrote this’d take me days. Well worth it though, I’d suspect. Have you considered selling ads on your website?

  5. I sent Dave a chatty email, but emphasized that I'm not at all interested in having advertisements on my website.

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