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Food, Inc. (2009)

February 10, 2010

8/10 Gardenburgers

Well, that’s the last time I question a vegetarian.

Food, Inc. is a documentary about what we eat, how it’s made, the stuff that gets put into it and everything else that the five head meat processors in the U.S. aren’t telling us about what they’re doing to all the fatty goodness that’s going into our bodies.

Being a proud carnivore, watching this movie was a big step for me. It’s the kind of movie I don’t want to see because it’s about things I should know, and it’s the kind of movie I should want to see for the same reason. I’m sure I’m not the only one riding this train, so I can sympathize with your hesitations. But the thing is, this movie’s important and despite how easy it is to tell yourself that ignorance is bliss, ignoring the stuff that just might kill ya’ isn’t always the best course of action.

And it’s important not because PETA wants you believe it’s important, it’s important because the last thing we need is to walk into McDonald’s with an empty stomach and walk out with hemorrhagic E. coli. Not that getting inhumanely chopped up in a factory isn’t something to be concerned about, but that E. colie shit’ll ruin your day right quick.

The closest thing I can compare this to is An Inconvenient Truth, not so much in its subject matter, but more in regards to how it goes about telling the story. It’s not a lecture or a slideshow, instead it jumps around in chapters going from one aspect of the food industry to another, tying it all back into the way food effects our economy, our society and ourselves. Our two main narrators – which is the only thing I could think to call them – are Eric Schlosser, author of Fast Food Nation and Reefer Madness (good book), and Michael Pollan, author of The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Needless to say, these guys know what they’re talking about and they’re engaging personalities to have at the forefront.

But the thing that Food, Inc. does very well is that it’s not trying to sway you with opinions and “experts”, it simply states the facts and presents the footage to back it all up like any good documentary should. It really is one thing to hear someone tell you what’s going on behind closed doors, it’s something else entirely to actually see the man behind the curtain. Some of it’s cringe-worthy and a lot of it will have you shaking your head in near disbelief, but that’s what’s going on, time to face the music.

The people that the filmmakers rounded up to speak about their experiences working in various facets of the food industry are also a great addition to the mix. Very well-spoken and very insightful testimonies from people you probably wouldn’t peg as the type at first glance. 

My only complaint is that I wasn’t as angry by the end as I wished I had been. I thoroughly enjoy getting riled up by documentaries that make want to pimp slap all the naysayers, but I didn’t really get that here. Like I said, definitely an eye-opening experience, just not the kind that’ll make your blood boil.

If it weren’t for my good buddy Fred’s recent decision to pick up the book Eating Animals by Jonathan Safran Foer – which is very much in the same vein as this – I’m not so sure I would have been all that open to Food, Inc. But ultimately, I’m very glad I gave it a shot. It’s good to be informed about this stuff and still not feel guilty for eating meat. This movie’s not trying to convert us into a nation of herbivores, it’s simply lifting the veil on a practice that affects all of us and has been hidden from the public eye in a most loathsome fashion. Trust me, steak will still taste good after seeing this and you’ll be much better off for taking the time.

Might seem utterly delusional to think that a movie or a movement like organic farming can change the way the entire food industry is run, but crazier things have happened. As Schlosser points out, just look at big tobacco, ten bucks a pack in New York.

How ’bout them apples?

11 Comments leave one →
  1. February 10, 2010 10:02 am

    Go figure – I wrote about this today too! I’m with you in liking the way it tries to stick to the facts. It gives some alternatives and solutions in the credits, but by and large tries to stay out of the fray.

    As a meat-eater myself, I’m usually wary of this sort of film since I feel like they are trying to “shock and awe” me out of my eating habits. But by making the message about all food, not just meat, and by staying clear of the scare tactics…FOOD, INC gave me a better argument than I’ve seen in some time.

    Here’s hoping more people see it – Great post!

  2. February 10, 2010 10:40 am

    An eye-opening documentary. Most individual tidbits in it are known but it’s nice to see that it was all well-put together to make a solid case against industrial food production. Life as a chicken just fucking sucks, if that’s not hell what is it?

    ok time to go eat some ammonia drenched meat fillers 😉

    • February 10, 2010 11:26 am

      Good lord, the ammonia meat patties, that was too damn much.

  3. February 10, 2010 11:26 am

    Good lord, the ammonia meat patties, that was too damn much.

  4. February 10, 2010 2:35 pm

    I really want to see this one, it looks very informative… but I’m scared it might ruin some of my favourite foods for me. But I guess that’s the point.

    Great site! Keep it up!

  5. February 10, 2010 6:05 pm

    Aiden, I heard about this film some time ago. I am still pretty terrified to see it. I really try my best to stay away from fast food places, but I have a feeling that this film targets every type of meat. The only comfort I get is when you wrote:

    Trust me, steak will still taste good after seeing this and you’ll be much better off for taking the time.

    Thanks for this eye-opening review; I will make an effort to watch this!
    Josh Lipovetsky.

  6. February 14, 2010 3:29 pm

    I feel like documentaries that “make your blood boil” are generally one sided, and I prefer things a little more balanced. Did you see The Cove, would you consider that sufficiently blood boiling? (I did).

    Did you think it was interesting that Walmart was portrayed in a good light? I think this is the first documentry I have ever seen where Walmart was not the evil empire.

    • February 15, 2010 11:26 am

      Yeah, that whole Wal Mart aspect was pretty surprising, but hey, I think they’ll take all the positive publicity they can get.

      Dying to see The Cove, heard great things. Will check it out soon.

  7. Branden permalink
    February 19, 2010 4:39 pm

    I just saw this movie last night. I was more riled-up than you were. The movie was preachy at the ending credits to force you into going organic.

  8. michael teruios permalink
    September 3, 2012 10:18 pm

    and yet here you bloody americans are. still eating bullshit and becoming vegans as though its safer, whereas its not even pure vegetables anymore. its a mutant seed. well hope you guys extinct fast. seriously. the world will be a better place without your sorry asses.

    • September 4, 2012 1:54 pm

      Well that sure sounds like a blanket statement. Do they not have fast food outside of America?

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