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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Food Inc. Documentary Response Paper

Food Inc. Documentary Response Paper

Over the last century man was able to perfect the process of mass food production. From the meat and dairy products up to fruits and vegetables, everything inside in the supermarket is now being mass produced. And although this intensive production system is a billion dollar industry, the media as well as activist groups are now highlighting the limitations as well as the cruelty involved in food companies’ mass production methods. The true nature of this industry was exposed in the documentary film Food Inc.

The documentary Food Inc. provides a glimpse of corporate farming in the United States. It particularly exposes the unhealthy, harmful, and even abusive process behind the agribusiness. The documentary immediately opens with the scene of a typical America supermarket. What is noticeable about most of the products in the grocery is the packaging of the products. In fact, most of the products in the shelf often give the idea that it is “naturally” produced in a farm surrounded by green pastures by local farmers. This marketing method gives the consumers a false image of how and what is behind the production of such items. Instead of a pastoral farm, products such as meat are actually processed in a huge industrial slaughter house. Hundreds, if not thousands of cow carcasses are transferred using a conveyor belt inside a factory-like slaughter house. Cows are likewise fed with corn despite the fact that this is not their natural food. This is done by the company because of the cheap cost of corn and at the same time it speeds up their development. Alternately, chickens are raised in cramped chicken houses where they are given growth hormones so that they will develop faster and ready for production. These chickens are similarly cramped by the thousands where they neither see nor feel the sunlight. These graphic representation largely contradicts that “farm fresh” image presented by the companies. What is even more interesting to point out is that these products are not properly labeled by the companies. Instead, consumers are given the false idea about how it is produced.

Apart from these, the documentary also highlights the detrimental effects of modifying the animals’ diet both on the environment and human’s health. This is underlined in the story of Barbara Kowalcyk. Barbara talks about her advocacy regarding food safety and how the death of her 2-year old son from E-coli pushed her to lobby to the US Congress to pass a legislation for stricter and more effective USDA food testing regulation. This part of the documentary gives us an insight of the negative impact of mass produced animal products. Similarly, it shows the viewers how children can sometimes suffer because of the lenient regulations of food safety as well as the carelessness of these food companies.

Another important part of the documentary is the illegal practices of these huge food conglomerates when it comes to labor. Illegal Mexican immigrants are employed as workers for the primary reason that their labor cost is cheap and that the company need not spend on benefits. The film likewise showed the cruel practices of this labor when it comes to slaughtering the animals.
The images shown in the documentary only goes to show that there is so much injustice and deception that happens behind the methods of producing these products. Despite these gloom revelations, what is important to point out that we, the public, have the capability to put an end to all these. Instead of blindly accepting what the food conglomerate hands us, we must learn how to question and demand for something better. The consumer must also understand the power of their voice and how this voice can push the companies to change and improve their production methods.

Kenner, R. (2008). Food Inc. 

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