Food Inc Essay
The movie makes some really good points - Food Inc Essay introduction. The best point is that subsidized corn artificially lowers the cost of animal feed and high-fructose corn syrup. This creates a tax-subsidized economic incentive for people to choose fast food over nutritious options. Scrapping farm subsidies including corn would be a great idea (that the movie doesn’t propose). It has a good segment about how Monsanto is using intellectual property law to unfairly create a US soybean monopoly, suing farmers who never bought Monsanto seed and forcing them to capitulate because of the sheer weight of legal bills.
But the movie descends into sensationalism. For example, it takes a sad case of a kid named Kevin who died of E Coli poisoning after eating a hamburger. It traces the industry’s response — which is to use ammonia to make sure that almost no E Coli survives — and criticizes its solution while playing ominous music in the background along with unanswered cries of anguish from Kevin’s mother. It fails to mention that (1) all E Coli dies when meat is cooked properly (2) using ammonia to kill E Coli is an ingenious idea that’s very effective (3) the food with the greatest risk of E Coli poisoning is organic spinach.
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It doesn’t mention how the fast food industry eliminated the use of hydrogenated vegetable oil, almost completely eliminating trans fat from fast food. It has a scene comparing the resources used by a free range cow farmer who has about 20 cows versus an industrial slaughterhouse that processes thousands — failing to mention that if the free range farmer produced cows on the same scale he would use 4x to 10x the resources for the same output. The movie takes an ill-advised stance against genetically modified food (google Norman Borlaugh).
It makes several self-defeating arguments (like arguing that our industrially-produced food is infected and resource-intensive and that we should pay more to eat organic — which is actually much more resource intensive and more likely to be contaminated by bacteria because of the use of poop as fertilizer instead of nitrates). The movie makes some interesting points. But the whole “big business bad” thing is a completely useless attitude that is a constant source of irritation to me personally.
People and businesses have, do, will, and should act in their own best interests. The question is which policies should be created to incentivize wise outcomes? Regarding Monsanto, the problem isn’t evil big business, it’s that the US should reform its legal system to act like the UK’s where if you sue someone and lose then you have to pay their legal fees. That would prevent Monsanto’s abuses of IP law (and would accomplish tort reform in medical malpractice).
Food Inc. Essay
The documentary Food inc - Food Inc. Essay introduction. by Robert Kenner is a documentary about the food industry and some of the issues that have emerged with the modernization of said food industry. Robert Kenner presents his arguments in sorts of subtitle such as “The dollar menu”, and “The cornucopia” to help identify his main points. Robert Kenner also brings in some experts such as Michael Pollen and Barbara Kowalcyk, into his documentary to bring some credibility to his argument, as well as adding specific music at particular times to tug at the emotions of the viewers. In this documentary Robert Kenner not only shows what happens to those who eat the products produced by the corporate food industry but also those who help in the production.
In the first segment of Kenner’s documentary he brings up the topic of chicken farming in the modern food industry, and how there are many dangerous or unethical changes in the food industry. He then shows that chicken are now treated less like an animal and more like a product, less like a living thing and more like an object. Kenner shows this by showing some “dark” chicken house in which the chickens never even see any light. Then we are shown how chicken have been genetically altered for the new demands of the food industry. Chickens would grow to their full potential in seventy two days but now they grow to their full potential in forty eight days and not only that but they are twice the size of the ones that would grow in seventy two days. He then has a chicken farmer give us information about the company they are contracted with.
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The farmer then shares some of the unethical behavior of the company how the company keeps the farmers under their thumb by constantly requiring upgrades on the farmers’ equipment. Another example of the unethical behavior is that the company hires illegal immigrants to do a lot of their labor. During this part of the documentary Robert Kenner plays some rock music that sounds almost angry to persuade the viewer to feel angry about the way the farmers as well as the chickens themselves are being treated.
Robert Kenner then goes on to show us about the applications of corn in the modern food industry as well as some of the draw backs. Kenner then has Michael Pollen author of “The Omnivore’s Dilemma” tell us about his personal experience with the food industry. Pollen tells us he did some investigating and found that a lot of our food was leading to a corn field in Iowa he then says, “so much of our industrial food turns out to be clever rearrangements of corn”. Corn has help make many things, things from ketchup to even tires and the reason corn is used to help make all of these things is because it is cheap to make. However because of this same reason corn is used as the sustenance for animals. Cows are have evolved to eat grass not corn, and because cows are being fed corn instead of grass it causes physiological problems.
One such problem is the E-coli virus the virus can and has caused death. In the documentary Robert Kenner emphasizes one case in particular in which a two year old named Kevin dies from E-coli that he had contracted from a fast food restaurant. Kevin’s mother Barbara Kowalcyk became an advocate for food safety along with her mother Patricia Buck to help prevent anymore cases of E-coli from emerging. Mrs. Kowalcyk and her mother are trying to get Kevin’s law to pass; Robert Kenner then tells us what Kevin’s law is, “Kevin’s law would give back to the USDA the power to shut down plants that repeatedly produce contaminated meat.” However in the six years since the bill was written up it still has not passed. During this time of the documentary Robert Kenner brings in a very sad slow song to convey the sadness that Mrs. Kowalcyk feels everyday over the loss of her son.
Robert Kenner continues to speak about the issues associated to E-coli and how it relates to the meat packing industry. Michael Pollen tells us “If you take a food lot cow and take it off its corn diet and feed it grass for five days the cow will shed eighty percent of the E-coli in its system”. He then goes on to say that this doesn’t happen but rather the companies come up with radical ways to solve the E-coli problem. One such example is the Beef Products Incorporated located in South Sioux City, Nebraska what this company does is it takes all of the meat taken from the cows and put them in these containers and cleans the meat with ammonia. This company’s meat is in seventy percent of the countries fast food.
Also the company believes that within the next five years they will supply one hundred percent of the countries fast food hamburger meat. We are then given information about the meat packing industry its self, and how after 1906 after Upton Sinclair wrote “The Jungle” the meat industry was getting better, and by the 1950’s being in the meat packing industry was considered a good job. However now the way workers are being dehumanized and having to repeat one job over and over similar to a machine a job in the meat packing industry is becoming more and more dangerous.
Lastly Kenner addresses a recent strain put on corn farmers by Monsanto Corporations. Monsanto Corporations engineered a soy seed that resist the harmful effects of pesticides. “In 2008 ninety percent of soybeans in the U.S contained Monsanto’s patented gene” this tells us that the usage of these patented soybeans is growing. Now this patented soybean is a problem because farmers have to buy new seeds each year as opposed to keeping some from each of their batch each year like they use to. If somebody is caught saving seeds they are accused of copyright infringement and are sued. At this point of the documentary a mixture of music is playing again some rock music to convey anger, as well as some slow downbeat music to convey the sadness of the farmers who are loosing money because of the Monsanto’s patented soy beans.
In Robert Kenner’s documentary Food Incorporated Kenner shows us that the modern food industry has its flaws. The food industry has become a big business conglomerate in which it tries to produce as much as it can with putting very little into it. At this point the very personal relationship between the producer and the customer becomes cold and very robotic. Throughout the documentary Robert Kenner uses different persuasive strategies such as bringing in expert testimonies, and music to tug at various emotions.