May 12

The Movie: Food Inc.

The Movie:  Food Inc.
By Joel T. Fagsao

Nan chayote...khawis!

Food Inc., the film directed by filmmaker Robert Kenner is an eye opener on the current state of food production in the United States.  In the initial run of the film, I watched with fascination the attractive packaging of meat and vegetables.  Pork no longer had the bones, nicely cut and neatly packed. Vegetables such as tomatoes were always available regardless of the season.  Chicken breasts, an American favourite were bigger in size, than the average chicken breast.  As the film continued on its run-presented into three parts, I was aghast at the politics, greed, treatment of animals in the slaughter and the contracts that corporations impose on the American farmer- to finally put food on the supermarket shelves.

In one episode of the film, a mother, Barbara Kowalcyk has been lobbying since 2006 to put into law, now known as Kevin’s Law.  Kevin’s law seeks to give the Barbara Kowalcyk has devoted her life to passing “Kevin’s Law”, a law fighting to give the USDA (Department of Agriculture) the power to shut down processing plants that repeatedly produce contaminated meat.  Kowalcyk’s two year old son died after having eaten E-coli tainted hamburger.  The law and other similar laws that concern the American food industry has dragged on for years because either the industry (e.g. beef) or lawmakers are former directors of the corporations involved in the American food industry.

You will also grimace when you see cows standing on their own dung and urine for the months that they are confined in structures, eating nothing but feed (when in fact they should be out in the pasture eating grass).  As the cows are led to the slaughter, the film shows that some of the cows are not thoroughly cleaned- most likely the possible source of contamination.

One aspect of the film shows the intervention of science in making changes to God’s design.  Chicken are redesigned to have larger breasts, thus at the time of maturity, the chicken bound for your table has a much heavier upper part.  This is the reason, why chickens raised in company farms or contracted out to raisers could no longer stand.

Another realization seen on film is the impact of the control imposed by corporations on how seeds are to be handled by farmers.  The traditional way to farming is the setting aside of seeds by the farmer for the next crop season.  A large corporation in the US has changed all that.  Corn seed bought by the farmer is now protected by a contract and a patent.  It can be that the corn raised by the farmer has been re-designed not to provide seeds and therefore the farmer cannot store some of it for seeds.   On the strength of a contract and the threat of legal action by the company, a farmer who buys this corn seeds may not set aside seeds from his or her produce for the next planting season.  This is the current controversy now, the use of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) in the area of agriculture.  The danger to health of GMO foods has yet to be known.

It is an awakening, the extent of influence that corporations have on agriculture.  It is no longer the farmer who has the say in producing our food.  Let us not allow these systems to reach our shores.