Food Inc

For a couple of years I’ve been meaning to watch this documentary Food Inc, about how food is now produced in the U.S. — and just the other week saw that it became available on Netflix streaming and had no excuse — watched it on my iMac that night.

I found it to be a pretty powerful movie and the interviews with the farmers were very revealing. The stats on FDA investigations, and E. coli contamination were hard to argue with.

And is if on queue, this story popped into my stream today “1 million pounds of ground beef recalled: 7 people sickened by E. coli after eating meat from California company” while I was eating a quick bite, and I just had to blog this ;)

My $.02: Cost and lack of choice make it hard for everyone to pick locally grown produce and organic meats. I think efforts to have food labels include the source of the food, treatment of the animals, etc — and make it available online — are a good approach to this. Then people can vote with their pocketbooks on what foods they want to consume, and hopefully drive the marketplace to better choices and better pricing as farmers gain predictability of demand. In fact, in Food Inc there is a segment on how Walmart is moving in the direction of offering more sustainable and organic foods — purely because that’s where the market is heading and that’s what their customers want.

Movie trailer below:

6 thoughts on “Food Inc

  1. I’ve become somewhat of a Food, Inc. evangelist, but I really think people deserve to know more about the food they eat every day. Glad you enjoyed the film, I should go watch it again.

  2. Agree that people should educate themselves more and try to make better eating choices, and that advertising shouldn’t be deceptive, but I object to “organic” and “sustainable” being linked. Organic food is an unsustainable lifestyle choice for the wealthy (and they’re welcome to it). But in Africa, organic farming significantly contributes to mass starvation.

    There was a really interesting article in Foreign Policy about this.

    An excerpt:

    In Europe and the United States, a new line of thinking has emerged in elite circles that opposes bringing improved seeds and fertilizers to traditional farmers and opposes linking those farmers more closely to international markets. Influential food writers, advocates, and celebrity restaurant owners are repeating the mantra that “sustainable food” in the future must be organic, local, and slow. But guess what: Rural Africa already has such a system, and it doesn’t work.

    • ya, lots of issues get conflated in this debate – and I basically agree with part of your premise. If a specialized grain seed can withstand a near drought for example, it should be used in places w/ massive foot shortages.

      But growing cattle that can barely walk, that gets pumped with chemicals, and then produces beef that has a high-rate of e.coli seems like a sub-optimal result. I think we can do better.

      >Organic food is an unsustainable lifestyle choice for the wealthy

      Could be. But I’d like to see the true costs of mass produced food broken down. If you take out the subsides for corn for example, include the health-care costs for things like sky-rocketing diabetes, increase in sick-days, etc — I wonder what the true costs would be for much of the unhealthy food being produced “on the cheap”.

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