Overall the film King Corn was really interesting; it was fascinating to see the entire process of growing corn, but also to see that corn is actually everywhere in our diet. Besides eating corn in its natural form, corn is added to everyday foods in the form of high fructose corn syrup; corn is also used to feed our cattle that we eventually eat.
Corn is used to feed our cattle because when the cattle graze on grass it takes much longer for them to reach the weight required to reach market rate. This is because if they were grazing on grass it meant that they would be roaming the fields; but fed on corn they can be confined, limiting their movement. However, corn is very bad for a cow’s stomach, causing ulcers, and therefore farmers are limited to the number of days a cow can eat corn. Regardless of this fact, corn is very easy to grow and is very cheap to grow and is therefore is cheaper for the farmer, and thus cheaper for the consumer.
In the past the use of high fructose corn syrup was limited in our diet because it was very expensive to make, however nowadays it is the dominant sugar in our diets because corn is very cheap. Some advantages of the use of high fructose corn syrup is that it is known to enhance flavors, it lessens the taste of acid in spaghetti sauces, and is also used to give bread that nice brown color we are used to seeing. Cooking down the corn kernel separates it into a fibrous component and a starchy component, and this is the part that is used to make the syrup; this also leads to the fact that high fructose corn syrup has no nutritional value and has many of the bad metabolic effects that we see afflicting our population today. I think that the film’s producers could not gain access to the factories where high fructose corn syrup is made because the second someone puts an image to something that already has a bad reputation, it makes the entire process more real and people are more likely to shy away from the product.
The fact that the FDA is the governing body that is responsible for bottled water is shocking to me; these are the same people that regulate our prescription and over the counter medications, so are we to assume that drinking bottled water is the same as taking a teaspoon of cough syrup or pepto bismol for an upset stomach? It is shocking that considering the FDA’s regulation on the medication that people take on a daily basis, it is really shocking that they only require microbiological analysis once a week.
On the other hand, I am sure Coca – Cola and Pepsi have regular safety checks of their equipment to ensure that there is no contamination along the bottling process. Tap water on the other hand is subject to much more contamination on its path to our drinking glasses. The fact is, is that everyone’s plumbing system is different and this can account for the greater necessity to inspect the water for various microbiological contaminants. What they use to disinfect water is also not the most pleasant of substances. Chlorine is what is used to disinfect tap water in every municipality, and while levels are relatively small, chlorine is not something I would necessarily want to be drinking.
Regardless of whether tap water is better then bottled water or visa versa, it is definitely shocking to me and very much an eye opener that the FDA is regulating our bottled water and that their safety check of water contaminants varies greatly from that of the EPA. Not to mention the fact that Dasani and Aquafina are just filtered tap water so the question is, what’s the difference? Considering the high volume of bottled water I drink I will definitely be more wary of the amount of it now, and will start to add in the use of tap water to my daily drinking habits, and considering the fact that these bottle water companies are just filtering tap water, I can essentially do the same with my Brita filter and save money at the same time.
After viewing the Annie Leonard documentary, I compare the bottled water industry to the mafia crime families of NYC. The documentary highlights the concept of “manufactured demand” and the sub headings that come underneath this umbrella term. First she highlights how the bottled water companies scare us into buying their brand. They do this by telling us that tap water is dangerous and polluted, but fail to explain that this is their doing. The mafia does the same; they scared people into placing bets and gambling through their organization, but failed to tell people that in many cases they were behind the win or the loss.
The next step in this idea of manufactured demand is the idea of seducing the consumer. This is done by putting images of nature on the bottles themselves, evoking feelings of the crisp air of the great outdoors. By making the bottles seem nicer, people are more attracted to them and thus will buy them. Now the mafia used to seduce their clientele as well, by explaining the riches that would befall on the person if they joined their organization, or helped out the family.
Finally, the last step in the bottled water industries trickery into getting you to buy their brand is they mislead people by “beating out the competition.” In the documentary Mrs. Leonard explains how Pepsi’s vice chairman publicly announced that biggest enemy to the people is tap water. This cannot farther from the truth as earlier in the documentary she states how tap water is in fact better from a scientific standpoint and is also better taste. The mafia also mislead its clientele, the problem is that in their case people either ended up in jail or worse, swimming with the fishesprobably floating next to some bottles of water.
In conclusion, I see many connections between these big bottle industries and organized crime, and yet these companies are not be prosecuted for the things they are saying and doing.