Food Inc Notes - SustainabilityProblems

Food Inc.
Director: Robert Kenner
Fast Food- drive in created,
o McDonald brothers brought factory system into food business
o Uniformity and conformity, each worker given one task to do over and over again-easily
Large fast food chains, want big suppliers= small number of companies controlling food
Large amounts of food, small plot of land, affordable price=WRONG!
Chicken industry helped communities in the south maintain farm business- work for Tyson or
o Chickens never see sunlight, mass production not farming
o Companies own the farmers and prevent them from showing the public what happens
o Farmers have debt to the companies they work for, have no say in their own business
o Horrifying images of chicken in mass quantities, picking up dead chickens
Humans are extremely removed from our food
Illusion of diversity in supermarkets- only truly 4 or 5 companies
Corn has made its way into most of our food
o 30% of land dedicated to corn, based on government polity
o Food is engineered- ex. High fructose corn syrup
o Corn also main ingredient in animal feed
CAFO = Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations
o Corn makes animals fat fast and it is cheap to buy, even though cows were made to eat
o E. Coli is produced in the stomach of the cow from eating corn
Unintended consequences- beef recalls from E. Coli contamination, spinach outbreak of E.Coli
o Head of FDA was also part of food processor association, Government is corrupted with
former members of the mass production food industry, making decisions
o Regulatory agencies controlled by people from the companies being regulated
Tugs on your emotions- little boy dies from E. Coli from eating hamburger- meat recalled 2
weeks after
o USDA didn’t have the power to shut down plants that failed inspections- Kevin’s Law
 A law to give the USDA more authority over food production
Beef Products ICA. Using ammonia to kill bacteria in products
o Images of large machines seems extremely industrial
o Product is meat filler cleansed with ammonia to kill E. Coli
 In most of the hamburgers in the country
Dollar Menu- Chips and hamburgers can be found cheap, but fruits and vegetables are never on
o Obesity can be blamed on engineered foods
o Poverty level/minorities is a factor in obesity; families can’t afford to eat healthy
o Type 2 diabetes now affects children as well as adults- truly an epidemic
Farmers raising cows outside are saving money- cows eat grass, fertilize it, and are healthy
o Chicken raised out in the world are healthier and better for you- less chemicals in the
o Inefficiencies of industrial system
Same mentality of workers as they do toward the hogs- don’t need to be comfortable since they
are temporary
o Workers being bussed in from 100 miles away- exploited workers in poverty
o 32,000 hogs slaughtered per day
o Employees get infections from handling innards, treated as human machine
o Workers even bus in from Mexico- corn farmers couldn’t keep up with massive cheap
corn from US
 Smithfield- workers arrested from being illegal immigrants even if they worked
for 10 years
Subsidized food system to create the image of cheap food
Environmental costs, societal costs, health costs= not honest food
Solutions: Natural products Expo- organic growing in food industry
o Organic popcorn, soy milk, farm fresh products, local farmers
Can’t get rid of capitalism, must be more urgent
Business= problem
Government allowed patents on life- soon rush to patent corn
Monsanto- sold Roundup Ready soybeans- in 2008, 90% of soybeans included the patented
o Any farmer caught saving seeds can be investigated for patent infringement
o GMOs (Genetically modified) seeds contaminate even farms that don’t use Monsanto
o Control is so dominant, no use to small farmers to fight it
Full control of product= gaining control of food
Monsanto has close ties to Clinton and bush administration- government is dominated by
industries it is supposed to be regulating
o Ex past Monsanto workers now in FDA and EPA
o Represent interests of companies, not people
GMOs are mostly not labeled as such
Can’t speak against companies, food industries are different
Oprah sued by saying negative things about ground beef industry- eventually won after millions
of dollars of lawyers in litigations
Monsanto is sueing a man for cleaning seeds for farmers
o Can prevent people from trying to clean seeds anymore- giving Monsanto all the power
Machines also use thousands of gallons of oil to run the food factories and farms
Lack of food in the world
Irony is that the consumer feels powerless to the corporations for what they can buy
o Individual people can choose to buy local and organic- can change the market
It costs more to eat well- must change at the policy level
Example- battle against tobacco industry, no longer have control over government, industries
irresponsible behaviors can be changed.
If the consumer demands better food, the farmers will deliver
Vote to change the system in the meals you choose
Buy from companies that treat workers, animals, and the environment with respect
Read the labels, choose food in season
Buy foods locally grown, plant a garden, cook a meal with your family
Puts the decision in the viewer’s hands, not to give money, but to change their own lifestyles
“You can change the world with every bite.”