Food, Inc.

I've been wanting to watch Food, Inc. for a while now and tonight I was finally able to. This documentary made me happy that I am vegetarian and conscientious of what is in the food that I am purchasing.
Our food supply is controlled by corporations that don't have our best interest at heart.
70% of the beef that Americans are eating has beef "filler" that was washed in ammonia. Yes, ammonia, and you are probably unknowingly eating that! Not to mention they wash chickens in chlorine. They are not required to put these things on the labels of the food that you and your children are eating. Don't you think we have the right to know these things?

Facts from Food, Inc. (taken from the Food, Inc. press release)
  • In the 1970s, the top five beef packers controlled about 25% of the market. Today, the top four control more than 80% of the market.
  • In the 1970s, there were thousands of slaughterhouses producing the majority of beef sold. Today, we have only 13.
  • In 1998, the USDA implemented microbial testing for salmonella and E. coli 0157h7 so that if a plant repeatedly failed these tests, the USDA could shut down the plant. After being taken to court by the meat and poultry associations, the USDA no longer has that power.
  • In 1972, the FDA conducted 50,000 food safety inspections. In 2006, the FDA conducted only 9,164.
  • During the Bush administration, the head of the FDA was the former executive VP of the National Food Processors Association.
  • During the Bush administration, the chief of staff at the USDA was the former chief lobbyist for the beef industry in Washington.
  • Prior to renaming itself an agribusiness company, Monsanto was a chemical company that produced, among other things, DDT and Agent Orange.
  • In 1996 when it introduced Round-Up Ready Soybeans, Monsanto controlled only 2% of the U.S. soybean market. Now, over 90% of soybeans in the U.S. contain Monsanto’s patented gene.
  • Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas was an attorney at Monsanto from 1976 to 1979. After his appointment to the Supreme Court, Justice Thomas wrote the majority opinion in a case that helped Monsanto enforce its seed patents.
  • The average chicken farmer invests over $500,000 and makes only $18,000 a year.
  • 32,000 hogs a day are killed in Smithfield Hog Processing Plant in Tar Heel, N.C, which is the largest slaughterhouse in the world.
  • The average American eats over 200 lbs. of meat a year
  • 30% of the land in the U.S. is used for planting corn. 
  • The modern supermarket now has, on average, 47,000 products, the majority of which is being produced by only a handful of food companies.
  • 70% of processed foods have some genetically modified ingredient.
  • SB63 Consumer Right to Know measure requiring all food derived from cloned animals to be labeled as such passed the California state legislature before being vetoed in 2007 by Governor Schwarzenegger, who said that he couldn’t sign a bill that pre-empted federal law.
  • Corn products include: ketchup, cheese, Twinkies, batteries, peanut butter, Cheez-Its, salad dressings, Coke, jelly, Sweet & Low, syrup, juice, Kool-Aid, charcoal, diapers, Motrin, meat and fast food.
  • Corn, which is the main ingredient in animal feed, is also used as a food additive. Those products commonly include: Cellulose, Xylitol, Maltodextrin, Ethylene, Gluten, Fibersol-2, Citrus Cloud Emulsion, Inosital, Fructose, Calcium Stearate, Saccharin, Sucrose, Sorbital, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Citric Acid, Di-glycerides, Semolina, Sorbic Acid, Alpha Tocopherol, Ethyl Lactate, Polydextrose, Xantham Gum, White Vinegar, Ethel Acetate, Fumaric Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Baking Powder, Zein, Vanilla Extract, Margarine, and Starch.
  • 1 in 3 Americans born after 2000 will contract early onset diabetes; Among minorities, the rate will be 1 in 2.
  • E. coli and Salmonella outbreaks have become more frequent in America, whether it be from spinach or jalapenos. In 2007, there were 73,000 people sickened from the E. coli virus.
  • Organics is the fastest growing food segment, increasing 20% annually.

Those facts alone should make you think twice about what you are putting in your cart. If you eat meat, try to buy it locally, or look for organic, grass fed without hormones.
Organic food is more expensive but you can eat healthily on a budget. Eating organic whole foods will save you money on medical bills so in the long run it will pay for itself.

Another thing that is truly disturbing is the food libel (also know as veggie libel) laws. You might remember in 1996 when Oprah was being sued by Texas for talking smack about beef. Food libel laws allow a food manufacturer or processor to sue a person or group who makes disparaging comments about their food products. Yup, if you make them or their product look or sound bad they will come after you.
Thirteen states have this food libel law and I just happen to live in one of them. The other 12 are Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Dakots, Ohio, Oklahoma, and South Dakota.

Now might be a good time to finally get started on that garden I've always wanted!



Anonymous said...

Keep posting stuff like this i really like it

YogaMama said...

It's crazy the way the food industry has change. I haven't been able to bring myself to watch Food, Inc. because I know so many bad things about the way food is now I need to absorb it before I learn more! haha

We are totally growing our own garden this year as well!

ashley said...

oh man. i saw this on friday and i had the same reaction as you: glad that i'm vegetarian and conscious of my food purchases. i think if i ate meat i would have left the theater with an upset stomach! it was still hard to watch the chickens being killed though...

Mommy Bee said...

We just saw this movie this last week too. I had read all three books (Fast Food Nation, Omnivore's Dilemma, and In Defense of Food) back to back last fall, and of course they have more info than the movie can hold in a short time, but I thought it did a REALLY good job of summing up the messages of the books.
It didn't teach me anything new (since I had read the books) but the greatest thing about it was that now my husband is on board with me about some of the foods I've been wating to buy (local meat specifically). He had balked at the expense before, but now he understands why it's so important to me to shop this way.
We have a whole slew of reasons for not being vegetarian--I don't hold anything against those who are, but I genuinely don't believe that it's the best choice for us (and not just because we like meat, because personally, I don't love it much nor do I eat much--but I do believe that it's nutitionally appropriate for us). Hmm, I should go write a blog post about that huh? :)

Amber, The Unlikely Mama said...

Ok...now I want to watch this, but I fear it will make me look at meat the same way "The Business of Being Born" made me look at birth! While I was leaning towards a natural birth...I like meat, ha :-)

Tatiana said...

Ugh, I saw food inc. and couldn't sleep for days. It was so depressing because it made me feel super guilty about eating meat. Don't get me wrong, it was a great movie with an amazing message and it's really changed the way I eat. I tried to be a veg and it lasts 3 months till I got pregnant and couldn't take it any more. I'mhoping to try again soon, but maybe a little more slowly this time. Last time I just switched from one day the next.

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