Film review: Food for thought

Want a nice juicy burger? Maybe not, maybe never if you catch “Food, Inc.,” a calm but powerful indi

Want a nice juicy burger? Maybe not, maybe never if you catch “Food, Inc.,” a calm but powerful indictment of the food industry.

It’s a film that should be required viewing for Americans, especially children, many of whom are destined to suffer from maladies that come from consuming doctored food.

Directed and co-written by Robert Kenner, the feature is not a hell-bent slice of sensationalism. It’s not out to get us sick, but it does pack a hefty punch. Forget the romantic image of the American farmer. They may exist but, in one way or another, they are working for corporations like Monsanto, portrayed here as villainous bullies.

Once upon a time, Teddy Roosevelt took on the meat-packing industry, but now, with the help of lobbyists and less than-honorable legislators, no one is policing our food consumption, or rather, policing the way our food is harvested.

‘Food, Inc.’

DIRECTED BY Robert Kenner

WRITTEN BY Robert Kenner and Elise Pearlstein

RATED PG (disturbing images)

RUNNING TIME 94 minutes


We see cattle slaughtered (400 cows an hour), struggling to their demise in yards of mud; some are sickly creatures that may be processed into our steaks or burgers. We are further informed that one burger may contain the meat of four different cows.

Culture of technicians

We have become, says one interviewee, a culture of technicians who manufacture our food in record haste. Thanks to McDonald’s and other fast-food conglomerates, the demand for meat is maniacally intense. If Americans love white chicken meat, manufacturers such as Perdue inject the birds with chemicals. The result: chickens with chemically enlarged breasts that live not the usual six months, but 49 days. They arrive at the executioners so bloated that they can hardly stand.

If we believe our eyes and listen to farmers and experts, everything we eat has been genetically modified, from pork to tomatoes, chickens to corn. Throw into the mix a dash of E. coli bacteria.

The film points out that the guardians of our gastronomic welfare — the officials in charge — are political appointees with ties to the conglomerates. The conclusion we may reach is that no one is steering the ship.

Ironies abound. The mass production depends on immigrant labor to perform hideous tasks once supervised by union leaders. The film’s most salient observation is that the very people who need healthy food cannot afford it. We accompany a family to a fast-food joint where they consume a meal that costs $11. They cannot afford anything more healthful because the family has to spend over $100 dollars a month to treat the father’s diabetes, probably brought on by his fast-food diet.

Economic effects

Decide, please, who will foot the bill once Daddy is hospitalized. I leave it to economists, who perhaps are in a better position determine how the alarming intake of junk food affects America’s economy.

Did I hear someone say health care?

I agree with those who contend that “Food, Inc.” creates fodder for more movies, more investigations. One thing is clear: Part of the blame falls on us the consumers for gobbling up chemically altered food.

All is not hopeless. As another interviewee points out, there was a time when challenging the tobacco industry was unthinkable. Maybe, we need not political gibberish, but more citizen activists who do their food shopping at a farmers’ market.

Contact Dan DiNicola at [email protected]

Categories: Entertainment

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