Review: Food Inc.

A while back my boyfriend suggested I watched Food Inc. and as soon as I heard what it was about I was interested.  I mean don't we all deserve to know where our food comes from, how it is produced and what we are actually putting into our bodies day in and day out?  He warned me that it was quite horrifying and upsetting but I was no where near ready for what I saw.  

Okay, so it's a film that depicts agricultural production in the US, but at the same time it is interesting to see how America leads by example... and really are we that much different?  

According to the film the way we eat food has changed more in 50 years time than in the past 10'000 years.  There appears to be a pastoral fantasy surrounding the idea where our food comes from; however these 'farms' are more like factories.  Where meat is mass produced quickly and efficiently and crops grow regardless of season to meet the ever growing demands of the world and the economic and legal power of the corporations that control the food production are immense.

The film starts off by looking at meat production.  For me, this was probably the most upsetting part of the film as somehow the producers managed to gain access to chicken farms, CAFOs and slaughterhouses.  Meat production centers around the aim to produce a lot of food on a small amount of land at a very small price.  The treatment that the animals receive is utterly disgusting, the first example given is Tyson which is a poultry farm - a simple google search led me to learn that Tyson is the world's second largest producer of chicken, beef and pork and it employs roughly 115'000 people.  Vince Edwards, a Tyson grower, is interviewed and he describes how he runs 16 chicken houses and he has about 300'000 chickens and they grow their chickens in 49 days.  Now I think that is incredible and not in a good way!  49 days?  The chickens that they produce are pumped full of water and chemicals and God knows what else to make them grow so quickly?!  Not only that but he tells us that the chickens never see daylight?  It's quite sad to think that these living beings are born into darkness and appalling conditions to be killed after 49 miserable days.  What sort of life is this?  Vince Edwards was going to show the crew inside his chicken houses, however, Tyson wouldn't allow it.  

The inside of a Perdue Poultry Farm
So they found another farmer who would allow them to see inside their chicken house; and this farmer belonged to Perdue Farms, another major poultry farmer in the US.  Carole Morison agrees  that this 'farming' is wrong and speaks out, although, later we learn that it lost her her job.  She describes it as mass production as opposed to farming, which is exactly what she shows us.  Insied the house the chickens are crammed together, and there is dust and feces everywhere.  The chickens have many problems with their bones and internal organs as a result of the rapid weight growth, they can't walk properly and many of them are sick.  And to make it worse, this is the food that we are putting into our bodies?  Sick, disabled and poorly treated chickens?  What effect can that have on us?  It becomes clear that the companies control the farmers and that they don't care how their food is produced as long as they are making profit and fast. 

Have you ever heard of a CAFO?  No?  Neither had I.  A Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation that confines animals for more than 45 days in growing season, in an area that does not produce vegetation and meets certain size thresholds.   Doesn't it just sound absolutely horrific?  This is where cattle and swine are 'farmed'.  Cows are naturally designed to eat grass, however, these cows are fed corn because it is so cheap and fattening.  This corn diet then produces a mutation within the cows as e-coli bacteria in their stomach.  The animals are then standing ankle deep in their own manure and so all the animals will have the e-coli bacteria and their fur will be covered in it.  A slaughterhouse kills 400 animals per hour.  These animals that are caked in manure will then be cut up and inevitably the bacteria will go onto the carcass and be introduced into the food system.  This is shocking.  I mean, something as harmful as e-coli was basically created out of human greed.  And we as consumers pay the price of our demands.  

So then instead of changing the system in order to stop e-coli, producers come up with something new: meat is then cleansed with ammonia to kill the bacteria.  it's disgusting.  Absolutely disgusting that instead of just changing the way that the animals are treated they find another cheaper option to carry on with their money making system.  

I definitely think it's one of those things you have to see to understand fully just what is happening, and how horribly these animals are being treated.  I mean here in Scotland everywhere you go you see cows and sheep roaming around fields and even pigs and chickens out in the open fresh air.  Maybe we take this for granted, or maybe we will evolve like America and begin to modernise and adapt to meet the demands of the ever growing population and need to make money.  Not only that, in supermarkets and shops if you look at where some of the meat comes from its actually cheaper to import this factory meat from places like America than buy healthy fresh meat from our own country.  And not only that I am so glad that I always try to chose organic and free range food or buy meat from local butchers because at least then I know where my food comes from and that the animals were able to live a happier healthier life than many of these mass produced animals.  It's sad that to eat better costs more money but when I see things like this I realise I am not so bothered about the price, and I wish that more people shared this view. 

Consumers are kept in the dark about where their food is coming from and what damage it does, individual consumers can change this though.  By chosing organic, free range food then the shops will begin to sell more and more organic and free range products to meet the demand.  The people need to demand wholesome food, and at the very least I think you should stop and wonder where your food has come from or how it was produced before you buy it.  And think about how it will effect your body.  I know I will.

Thank you, and goodbye for now,

Love, Lauren x