Anyone with even the smallest interest in food should see the film Food, Inc., which was released in cinemas last week.
Lifting the lid on the underbelly of the American food industry, it conveys a very depressing truth on how consumer demand for more food at lower prices has led to a handful of appallingly powerful companies controlling almost the entire industry.
The new trend for ‘perfect food, quickly’ has led to a terrible increase in intensive rearing, both for livestock and arable crops. We now have bigger chicken breasts in half the time, tomatoes genetically modified not to rot, and pork that is so lean, it’s almost unrecognisable in flavour.
But there is also an inextricably linked increase in e-coli related deaths and illness, a massive (pardon the pun) rise in obesity and a new trend of food allergies and intolerances. Intensively reared grain-fed cattle are given an expanding cocktail of chemicals to try and counteract the e-coli in their stomachs, a problem which could be eradicated by feeding them on grass for only 2 weeks before slaughter. And the US government is aiding them in its food production laws.
Using undercover footage and secret interviews, much of the film’s content is at best uncomfortable, at worst truly shocking, but it really is a must-see. Although Food, Inc. is about the US food industry, we shouldn’t assume that many of the practices highlighted don’t occur in Britain, and I do hope that if the film gains enough support, someone will be motivated to make one here.
So really, take your friends, take your children, but go and see the film. It’s important that people know – then we might be able to do something about it.