Foods, Inc is a highly revealing film that takes the audiences behind the iron curtains to corporate insensitiveness to amass wealth quickly. The movie, well documented, and narrated, reveals the power and influence corporate have with Capitol Hill. The movie begins with the misguiding and tempestuous show of greenery, as the camera glides over lush green fields underneath. However, as the narrator say, “The way we eat has changed more in the last 50 years than in the previous ten thousand, but the image that is used to sell the food is the same imagery of gregarine America,” an aura of dichotomy sets in, as the movie prepares the audience for an hour and thirty-three minutes of corporate savagery. The images of huge supermarkets displaying an array of food products in tantalizing and colourful packing lure consumers.
Tomatoes, for example, are found in these supermarkets in all seasons, as they are picked up countries all over the world, and using ethephon gases, artificially ripened and put up on display. In their quest to make quick money, these corporations use chemicals and pesticides to ripen and fatten fruits and vegetables. While they make huge profits from such artificial methods, they remain elusive when customers demand to know how they do it. In order to protect themselves from possible litigation, these corporations cover themselves with laws that make it impossible for consumers to sue them. With no access to right to information, consumers are left exposed to all kinds of health-related issues, as none of the products they buy, carry statutory warning to highlight what they happen if they consumed that product. In one scene in the movie, an attorney speaking on behalf of her corporate client who was sued in court said, “Why we are against labelling is that it creates a fear in the minds of the consumer, and until we are able to educate them on the use of technology, we don’t want them to think that just a warning label will help them.” When the case went in favour of the consumer, and SB-63 was passed in the State Legislature, it was vetoed by the then Governor Schwarzenegger. The movie also focuses on the inhumane treatment meted to animals and workers in food processing companies. Carole Morison, a Perdue grower said today farming is no more the same as before because, “it is like just mass production in an assembly line in a factory.” The chicks are fed corn treated with biotic to become fat, and they can hardly stand in 3-4 weeks as their bodies grow alarmingly.
What is worrying is that, farmers are kept under corporate bigamy. When farmers, who are lured with promises of huge profits, start farming, they pay a certain amount, and the rest of which is paid by the corporation. It’s a huge investment, and could be anywhere from $ 280,000 to $ 300,000, the company pays the major share of the investment, thus making the farmers indebted to them. Over a period of time, as profits grow the corporate starts to demand that farmers buy new machines or expand their infrastructure to meet their demand. If they refuse, or try to close their business, they are warned with contract laws.
The corn that is fed to chicks and cows, it stimulates certain metabolisms within them that makes them grow big in short time. The effects of corn on animals was illustrated by Allen Trenkle, a ruminant nutritionist expert from the IOWA State University, when he put his hand into the body of a live cow to show the infection caused by millions of microorganism of bacteria within its body. It is cows like these that are infected with deadly bacteria, which enter slaughter houses to become food products that reach supermarkets. When consumed, they cause food poisoning, and in some cases, carry E-Coli. Maria Andrea Gonzalez, a mother of two, and her husband have no time to cook at home, or the money to buy organic food, and because they eat fast food just about every day, her husband has failing eyesight.
Joel Salatin, owner of Polyface farm, said that just about everything is outsourced to corporate boardrooms thousands of miles away, and these people have no idea of farming. The only way to stop such deadly food from reaching restaurants and homes is by, “putting glass walls on all the mega processing factories.” People get carried away by the cheap price for food products served by these huge corporations, and find buying hygienic organic foods too expensive. They don’t know that they are actually falling into a vicious trap where they could end up paying huge medical bills or with their lives.
The documentary also covered the inhumane practices at Smithfield Hog Processing Plant in North Carolina, to the unethical seed patent law of Monsanto Corporation. The movie also showed how Oprah was sued for ‘revealing facts’ on her program on television. The Texas cattlemen industry argued that Oprah, with her disclosure, disparaged a food product that caused it heavy losses. However, after 6 long years of litigation and over a $1 million in legal fees, Oprah won the lawsuit. If you have the money to challenge these corporate head-on, go for it, but the problem is, how many can withstand the pressure and money to fight these corporations in court rooms for years at a stretch? What the documentary shows is that the best people can do to stay healthy is by buying products from companies that treat their workers, animals and the environment with respect. Go organic.
Cook, R, (1998), Toxin, Pan Books, The MacMillan Group, ISBN 978-1-44722870-7
Kenner, R, Foods, Inc. Retrieved April 9, 2014, from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aaf7KZPn2Vo