Nov 16, 2018
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Headline, Industry News

Food Inc. serves up some good reasons for change

TO411 documentary review
by staff writer Daisy Maclean

A man in blue plastic gloves removes what looks to be a giant cork from the side of a live cow and puts his hand through a grapefruit-sized hole into the cow’s stomach. This is just one of the compelling and bizarre scenes from the Oscar award nominated, Food Inc., a documentary dedicated to exposing the mechanized Orwellian underbelly of the American food industry to its consumers. 

“There are no seasons in the American supermarket. Now there are tomatoes all year round, grown halfway around the world, picked when green, and ripened with ethylene gas. Although it looks like a tomato, it’s kind of a notional tomato.”

The latest addition to our growing lexicon of cinematic warnings about what we eat, Food Inc. focuses on the fact that only a handful of corporations (like Monsanto, Perdue and Tyson) control America’s entire food supply. It is an industry that puts profit ahead of anything else including consumer health, the livelihoods of farmers, the safety of workers, and the environment. However, the movement toward safer and healthier food still feels like it’s just one guy yelling out about “soylent” green. 

Surprisingly, this documentary is not a militant demand for vegetarianism — three of the film makers are meat eaters — instead the film centers around the problems of the corn industry. Having been heavily subsidized by the government since the 50s, corn has not only found its way into everything, from batteries to diapers and all the processed food in between, it has completely changed the economics, employment patterns, and consumer habits of the food industry. The damage caused by this abundance of corn is widespread: While corn syrup used in junk food has been linked directly to the obesity epidemic, the meat industry has taken advantage of the low cost of corn as feed for their animals.

Remember the guy in the blue plastic gloves?

Allen Trenkle is his name, and he is a ruminant nutrition expert from Iowa state university who has been studying the effect of America’s high corn diet on cows. E. Coli is a common bug and one found naturally in the intestines of cattle, poultry, and other animals. Trenkle revealed that cattle are given feed that their bodies are not biologically designed to digest, thus a new strain called O157:H7 has appeared on the world stage. If the cows were allowed to eat grass, then 80% of that bacterium would be eliminated by the bovine’s own natural systems.

The film has chosen a vast subject to explore, and as a result has a huge amount of information to convey. For that reason it has been broken down into visual chapters, each with its own issue. Some of these will be recognizable to you if you have read The Omnivore’s Dilemma or seen Fast Food Nation. The stunning cinematography, done by Gonzolo Amat, makes good use of a helicopter for the film’s pacing and scene setting. While the subject matter verges on the depressing, the film chooses to have a positive message for us at the end. The power does, in fact, lie in the hands (or mouths) of the average consumer. Getting the information out, so that the right choices can be made is an important step, and with England currently considering the profit margins of a high-tech genetically modified food industry, the release of Food Inc. is very timely.

Food Inc. is available in your local video store. For more information go here.

Daisy Maclean will review recently completed documentaries for TO411 Daily – please contact her for more information: daisy@to411.com. 

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Headline, Industry News

Food Inc. serves up some good reasons for change

TO411 documentary review
by staff writer Daisy Maclean

A man in blue plastic gloves removes what looks to be a giant cork from the side of a live cow and puts his hand through a grapefruit-sized hole into the cow’s stomach. This is just one of the compelling and bizarre scenes from the Oscar award nominated, Food Inc., a documentary dedicated to exposing the mechanized Orwellian underbelly of the American food industry to its consumers. 

“There are no seasons in the American supermarket. Now there are tomatoes all year round, grown halfway around the world, picked when green, and ripened with ethylene gas. Although it looks like a tomato, it’s kind of a notional tomato.”

The latest addition to our growing lexicon of cinematic warnings about what we eat, Food Inc. focuses on the fact that only a handful of corporations (like Monsanto, Perdue and Tyson) control America’s entire food supply. It is an industry that puts profit ahead of anything else including consumer health, the livelihoods of farmers, the safety of workers, and the environment. However, the movement toward safer and healthier food still feels like it’s just one guy yelling out about “soylent” green. 

Surprisingly, this documentary is not a militant demand for vegetarianism — three of the film makers are meat eaters — instead the film centers around the problems of the corn industry. Having been heavily subsidized by the government since the 50s, corn has not only found its way into everything, from batteries to diapers and all the processed food in between, it has completely changed the economics, employment patterns, and consumer habits of the food industry. The damage caused by this abundance of corn is widespread: While corn syrup used in junk food has been linked directly to the obesity epidemic, the meat industry has taken advantage of the low cost of corn as feed for their animals.

Remember the guy in the blue plastic gloves?

Allen Trenkle is his name, and he is a ruminant nutrition expert from Iowa state university who has been studying the effect of America’s high corn diet on cows. E. Coli is a common bug and one found naturally in the intestines of cattle, poultry, and other animals. Trenkle revealed that cattle are given feed that their bodies are not biologically designed to digest, thus a new strain called O157:H7 has appeared on the world stage. If the cows were allowed to eat grass, then 80% of that bacterium would be eliminated by the bovine’s own natural systems.

The film has chosen a vast subject to explore, and as a result has a huge amount of information to convey. For that reason it has been broken down into visual chapters, each with its own issue. Some of these will be recognizable to you if you have read The Omnivore’s Dilemma or seen Fast Food Nation. The stunning cinematography, done by Gonzolo Amat, makes good use of a helicopter for the film’s pacing and scene setting. While the subject matter verges on the depressing, the film chooses to have a positive message for us at the end. The power does, in fact, lie in the hands (or mouths) of the average consumer. Getting the information out, so that the right choices can be made is an important step, and with England currently considering the profit margins of a high-tech genetically modified food industry, the release of Food Inc. is very timely.

Food Inc. is available in your local video store. For more information go here.

Daisy Maclean will review recently completed documentaries for TO411 Daily – please contact her for more information: daisy@to411.com. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

Headline, Industry News

Food Inc. serves up some good reasons for change

TO411 documentary review
by staff writer Daisy Maclean

A man in blue plastic gloves removes what looks to be a giant cork from the side of a live cow and puts his hand through a grapefruit-sized hole into the cow’s stomach. This is just one of the compelling and bizarre scenes from the Oscar award nominated, Food Inc., a documentary dedicated to exposing the mechanized Orwellian underbelly of the American food industry to its consumers. 

“There are no seasons in the American supermarket. Now there are tomatoes all year round, grown halfway around the world, picked when green, and ripened with ethylene gas. Although it looks like a tomato, it’s kind of a notional tomato.”

The latest addition to our growing lexicon of cinematic warnings about what we eat, Food Inc. focuses on the fact that only a handful of corporations (like Monsanto, Perdue and Tyson) control America’s entire food supply. It is an industry that puts profit ahead of anything else including consumer health, the livelihoods of farmers, the safety of workers, and the environment. However, the movement toward safer and healthier food still feels like it’s just one guy yelling out about “soylent” green. 

Surprisingly, this documentary is not a militant demand for vegetarianism — three of the film makers are meat eaters — instead the film centers around the problems of the corn industry. Having been heavily subsidized by the government since the 50s, corn has not only found its way into everything, from batteries to diapers and all the processed food in between, it has completely changed the economics, employment patterns, and consumer habits of the food industry. The damage caused by this abundance of corn is widespread: While corn syrup used in junk food has been linked directly to the obesity epidemic, the meat industry has taken advantage of the low cost of corn as feed for their animals.

Remember the guy in the blue plastic gloves?

Allen Trenkle is his name, and he is a ruminant nutrition expert from Iowa state university who has been studying the effect of America’s high corn diet on cows. E. Coli is a common bug and one found naturally in the intestines of cattle, poultry, and other animals. Trenkle revealed that cattle are given feed that their bodies are not biologically designed to digest, thus a new strain called O157:H7 has appeared on the world stage. If the cows were allowed to eat grass, then 80% of that bacterium would be eliminated by the bovine’s own natural systems.

The film has chosen a vast subject to explore, and as a result has a huge amount of information to convey. For that reason it has been broken down into visual chapters, each with its own issue. Some of these will be recognizable to you if you have read The Omnivore’s Dilemma or seen Fast Food Nation. The stunning cinematography, done by Gonzolo Amat, makes good use of a helicopter for the film’s pacing and scene setting. While the subject matter verges on the depressing, the film chooses to have a positive message for us at the end. The power does, in fact, lie in the hands (or mouths) of the average consumer. Getting the information out, so that the right choices can be made is an important step, and with England currently considering the profit margins of a high-tech genetically modified food industry, the release of Food Inc. is very timely.

Food Inc. is available in your local video store. For more information go here.

Daisy Maclean will review recently completed documentaries for TO411 Daily – please contact her for more information: daisy@to411.com. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

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