CREDIT: TakePart/Participant Media

Brief Overview

Food, Inc. takes a look at the U.S. meals industry and examines just how what we consume gets through the seed or animal to your dining table. Directed by Robert Kenner, this documentary explores farms around the country, both large and tiny, meat and veggie. It reveals different practices into the food industry, with farmers and company owners evaluating meals as something become manufactured scientifically, while others notice it as something of nature. Throughout the movie, the audience is advised to concern whether mass-produced food is environmentally and socially sustainable.

Food, Inc. additionally criticizes the role of the U.S. government in skewing costs lower for processed foods through subsidies for corn. These subsidies reduce the cost of processed foods made out of high-fructose corn syrup as well as other corn-based products and make the marketplace less competitive for other foods. Additionally, it reveals the close relationships between Food And Drug Administration (Food and Drug Administration) and USDA (U.S. Department of Agriculture) regulators and major meals organizations. An example is Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas's former place as a lawyer for Monsanto Chemical Company (1976-1979) and his 2001 vote in favor of Monsanto in a case where in fact the giant corporation sued a farmer for allegedly breaking a licensing agreement that forbade him to replicate Monsanto seeds. Monstanto won the situation. (keep in mind that the film overstates the conflict of great interest by claiming that Thomas penned the opinion supporting Monsanto; it had been in fact compiled by Justice Elena Kagan. However, a conflict of interest definitely exists. Read more concerning the situation here.)

Kenner emphasizes that is around the customer to force organizations to start out including extra information on the labels and offering organic alternatives. Such lobbying make a difference. There are examples of big retailers like Walmart choosing healthier organic options for dairy food based on customer preferences.

The Cost of Cheapness

Among the major themes in Food, Inc. may be the concealed expenses of cheap food. It contends that mass-produced, «engineered,» low-price meals come with wellness, social, and environmental costs. Regarding wellness costs, the main point is raised through the stories of two families. In one single, Patricia Buck's two-year old son died of an E-coli strain after eating a fast meals Jack-In-The-Box hamburger while on vacation. A short while later, Buck campaigned for Kevin's Law, which would provide the USDA capacity to power down meat processing plants that create contaminated meat. The law would not pass but areas of it had been included six years later inside FDA Food Modernization Safety Act of 2010.

The second exemplory case of hidden expenses of cheap food is told through story of a household whom cannot afford a heathier eating plan. As an alternative, they frequently eat fast food because it is probably the most filling option on lowest price. Because of this, the father now has diabetes and household spends around $200 each month on their medications. At the conclusion associated with segment, the movie shows the statistic that «one in three Americans created after 2000 will contract early onset diabetes.»

Our cheap meals also comes at great social price. Food, Inc. has a part about unlawful immigrants who're employed at meat processing facilities in the usa; for their susceptible status, they are afraid to protest against their unsanitary working conditions. This work practice ended up being common in the meat industry at the beginning of the twentieth century. Upton Sinclair had written about it in their 1906 muckraking novel The Jungle, which created a reaction that assisted make these flowers safer places with additional employees' legal rights. The movie notes this is what took place within the auto industry as well. Meat processing plants, however, have actually reverted back into unfair treatment of workers, and after this's conditions are arguably just like those of over 100 years ago, in accordance with Kenner.

Finally, environmentally friendly price that is included with mass-produced meals is seen through the petroleum-based pesticides and fertilizers that are utilized in farming. Food, Inc. also states it takes 75 gallons of oil to create a steer to slaughter. Another typical theme throughout the film may be the debate between engineered technology and nature, which questions techniques such as for instance making use of ammonia to kill germs inside meat versus feeding cows grass, which obviously kills those bacteria.

Discussion Questions

1. The film states, «At the turn for the century, a farmer could create enough food for six or eight people. Now the common American farmer can feed 126 people.» Should food technology be seen as an optimistic thing because we can now feed more and more people at reduced prices? Or will be the wellness, social, and ecological costs too much for prepared meals to carry on become a significant the main American diet? Why

2. The film shows the mostly immigrant population that works in meat processing facility additionally the conditions which they work with. This really is compared to the early 1900s, where it had been additionally a mostly immigrant population employed in meatpacking flowers in hazardous conditions. You think work practices into the meat industry have actually enhanced since that time? Why or then? For those who have read or are aware of Upton Sinclairis the Jungle, it may be used as good guide. Exactly what do you think can be achieved to enhance working conditions in these meat plants today?

3. Do you consider the ability to produce more ethical practices in meals industry lies using the consumer? Why or you will want to? The film argues we makes alternatives in that which we purchase, but some people cannot afford alternatives, including the household shown eating during the fastfood chain. Exactly what can they are doing to enact modification?

4. Do you think its ethical for those who have been involved with the foodstuff industry to be on to influence or implement food policies?

5. After viewing this film, exactly what changes, if any, do you wish to see built to the foodstuff industry? Who do you need to see drive the change? The buyer, the federal government, the producer and/or supermarkets/retailers? Why

6. The film makes an assessment between food companies that promote unhealthy food and the tobacco industry. Can you accept this evaluation? Why or why don't you?

Selected Carnegie Council Resources

Keep the Salmon, How About Scup? For Sustainable Seafood, range is Key
Amrita Gupta, Carnegie Council
Atlantic salmon and blue fin tuna have been overfished almost to extinction and farmed fish have concerns such as the overuse of antibiotics. Yet you can find hundreds of delicious and sustainable seafood like mullet, dogfish, and scup, species often referred to as «trash fish.» For sustainable seafood, let us be much more adventurous and decide to try seafood like scup. (Article, August 2016)

From Lab to Table
Gilonne d'Origny, New Harvest; Irene Pedruelo,Carnegie Council
New Harvest wants to kick-start a bio-economy of animal services and products made without animals. Some have previously called this revolution «the next .com.» (Policy Innovations interview, December 2015)

Fighting Obesity Requires a Choice: Profit or Public wellness?
Roberto De Vogli and Noemi Renzetti, University of California Davis
Unless governments take steps to promote healthy diet plans and discourage consumption of ultra-processed items, opportunities to stop and reverse the obesity epidemic stay quite slim. (Policy Innovations article, October 2015)

Big Soda Politics: A Call to Advocacy
Marion Nestle, New York University
It is becoming evident that Big Soda copies the playbook utilized by Big Tobacco to distract individuals from the harm due to smoking cigarettes. Although falling soft drink product sales are the outcomes of successful advocacy, there is nevertheless many work doing. (Policy Innovations article, October 2015)

How Much More Processed Food Can We Eat?
Tim Lobstein, World Obesity Federation
Food policies for the twenty-first century will likely to be in regards to the reason for areas while the need certainly to hold marketers to account fully for their activities. (Policy Innovations article, October 2015)

Global Ethics Day: Feeding the Planet
Gerald Bourke,World Food Programme; Gilonne d'Origny, brand new Harvest; Jessica Fanzo, Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and Nitze class of Advanced Global Studies
There are approximately 2 billion individuals who are under-nourished and another 2 billion who are over weight or obese. Simply put, about 50 % the entire world's populace is malnourished. How do we feed the planet ethically, sustainably, and well? This panel provides some answers, from food help to producing milk and meat in mobile countries. (Worldwide Ethics Netowrk, October 2015. Movie, audio, and transcript.)

Another Pig Idea
Tristram Stuart,Food Waste Campaigner; Irene Pedruelo, Carnegie Council
Food waste expert and environmentalist, Tristram Stuart, has already established an unexpectedly big proven fact that could replace the world. (Policy Innovations meeting, June 2015)

Complete Planet, Empty Plates
Lester R. Brown and Janet Larsen, world Policy Institute
«We are in transition today from a chronilogical age of surpluses to a chronilogical age of scarcity,» says Lester Brown. The reason why are manifold: population development; climate modification; water scarcity; an amazing the main U.S. grain harvest used for gas; increased demands because of rising affluence; and a glass ceiling for crop yields. (Public Affairs, Might 2015. Video, audio, and transcript)

«Soy is an enormous Cloud Over All Agriculture»
Kathryn Redford,Ofbug; Irene Pedruelo, Carnegie Council
Kathryn Redford has a mission: revolutionize the meat industry. Exactly How? Through insects in animal feed, in place of soy or corn. (Policy Innovations interview, January 2015)

Exactly why isn't Food a Public Good?
Jose Luis Vivero Pol, Université Catholique de Louvain
What would the entire world seem like if we were to deal with food as a general public good or commons rather than simply as a commodity? (Policy Innovations article, September 2014)

Food for Peace?
Food for Peace, which ships US farm services and products to developing nations, has long been criticized for crowding out regional agriculture. Now, toward dismay of this U.S. farming and delivery industries, President Obama is proposing sending countries money grants. Is «Cash for Peace» a much better concept? (Global Ethics Corner, Might 2013. Movie, audio, text.)

Insufficient Fish inside Sea?
Marine seafood shares are dangerously low, but it hasn't stopped China from sending its fishing fleets to distant waters, often illegally. Could Asia's insatiable appetite for seafood be a threat toward planet's fisheries? Can there be more we should be worried about? (Global Ethics Corner, January 2013. Movie, sound, text.)

Is neighborhood meals More Ethical?
With genuine economic benefits and perceived ecological ones, neighborhood food happens to be branded as an ethical option to the mass-produced variety. But critics point out that locavores forget essential points about climate change and international poverty. Is neighborhood food really more ethical? (Global Ethics Corner, October 2012. Video, audio, text.)

The Race for What's kept: The international Scramble for the planet's Last Resources
Michael T. Klare,Hampshire College
As we run out of resources, the human race reaches a pivotal point. We now have two choices: We can continue across the exact same path, resulting in much of the earth becoming uninhabitable. Or we are able to create an alternate future in which we use resources in a more sustainable and frugal means. (Public Affairs, March 2012. Movie, audio, and transcript)

The (Ethical) Taste of Success
Ashok Vasudevan, Tasty Bite; Julia Taylor-Kennedy, Carnegie Council
Ashok Vasudevan has the required steps to construct commercially viable and socially accountable worldwide organizations. Tasty Bite, an all-natural, ready-to-eat food sold within the U.S. and Australia, is rated one of Asia's «Top-100 most readily useful businesses to exert effort For.» (simply Business, June 2011. Sound, transcript.)

Works Cited

"The Conflict of great interest between Justice Thomas and Monsanto Should Concern people Read", ahead Progressives, Ilyssa Fuchs, might 31, 2013

"FDA Food Safety Modernization Act", Wikipedia, last updated July 13, 2016

"Kevins Law", Wikipedia, final updated January 5, 2016

"The Jungle", Wikipedia, final updated August 21, 2016

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