Friday, June 12, 2009

Food, Inc.

Film Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Damning Documentary Exposes Dangers of Mechanized Food Industry

Did you know that the four largest beef producers now control 80% of the U.S. market? Or that mass-produced chickens never have a chance to see sunlight over the course of their abbreviated, 49-day lifespan during which they are so rapidly fattened that many can’t even support their own weight on their undeveloped skeletal structures?
These are the sort of inconvenient truths shared by Food, Inc., a scary documentary likely to leave you rethinking some of your own eating habits. For what anyone watching this revealing expose’ will unavoidably realize is the fact that agribusiness has turned food production into a highly-mechanized process more like manufacturing than farming.
The clever mega-corporations controlling the industry know that people prefer to think of their groceries as having been grown in healthy environments, hence all the packaging and advertising suggesting that what you’re about to consume came from a wholesome family farm. But the shocking footage director Robert Kenner somehow shot inside a variety of factories and slaughterhouses around the country tell a chilling story of misleading labeling, disease, pesticides, exploitation, genetic modification, monopolies and greed.
For example, the film informs us that Monsanto, the same chemical
company which made the defoliant Agent Orange for use in the Vietnam War, has successfully cornered the soybean market. How? By patenting the only genetically-modified seed resistant to herbicides. So, farmers must continually purchase the plant from the manufacturer because it is illegal for them to harvest any seeds themselves.
Furthermore, we learn that Justice Clarence Thomas used to work for Monsanto and that many others in the Bush Administration had close ties to the company as well. So, it is no surprise to see that the courts repeatedly side with the bullying firm in so many lawsuits against the proverbial little guy.
Overall, Food, Inc. is to be commended for sounding such a clear clarion call for the consumer to rise up and start demanding natural and healthy alternatives to the processed junk which we’re being fed in the name of profits.

Excellent (4 stars)
Rated PG for mature themes and disturbing images.
Running time: 93 minutes
Studio: Magnolia Pictures

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