Food Inc. – Stirring the Pot

“You’ll never look at dinner the same way again” is “Food Inc.’s” tagline, a documentary with strong thoughts about corporate farming and the mechanics of the U.S. food system.

Director Robert Kenner created an aggressive film to offer Americans a detailed peek into food production from farm to plate. “Food Inc.” tackles several controversial issues related to our society’s food industry and unsubtly encourages vegetarianism and large-scale commercial organic production.

The documentary faults a food system dedicated to efficiency by highlighting divisive topics.

“Corn has conquered our world,” the film declares, citing that 90 percent of grocery-store goods contain corn or soybean ingredients, or both. The film contends that subsidizing such commodity crops is making the U.S. overweight. Consumers pay less for foods created from these food bases, which are higher in fat and calories, than they do for healthier options that are more costly to produce, preserve and store for farmers and companies.

“Food Inc.” also targets Monsanto, an agriculture company that sells seeds and other agricultural products, as monopolizing the seed industry. The company has patented multiple seed varieties that are staples within the industry. Monsanto is portrayed as an evil bully forcing farmers to purchase its seed to remain in business. The company is accused of wrongfully suing those that save and replant its year-to-year contracted seed instead of buying a new supply as legally obligated.

Of course Kenner showcases graphic scenes of animals in slaughterhouses and images of animals that are seemingly suffering on farms to lecture on the animal-cruelty angle.

Reactions have been mixed. Film critic Elizabeth Oppriecht wrote, “Personally? I left ‘Food, Inc.’, went straight to lunch and had a big ole’ fried-chicken salad. Much more reliable research should be and needs to be done to support or refute many of the insinuations made by the film. There are many obvious holes in the information presented.”

Advocates of the film include restaurant chain Chipotle, which is advertising the film throughout its nationwide locations, as well as cooking gurus Martha Stewart and Alice Walters and other celebrities.

Monsanto counteracted the “one-sided, biased” film with a Web site dedicated to presenting facts about misinformation presented by movie producers at (, where consumers can also e-mail the company with their questions. The company refutes an allegation that it declined to be interviewed and says that it actually invited the film crew to a trade show of which they chose not to attend.

“‘Food Inc.’ is counter-productive to the serious dialogue surrounding the critical topic of our nation’s food supply,” states the company’s Web site.

The documentary ends with a call-to-action for consumers, inciting them to practice animal-rights and environmentally conscious food purchasing with the motive, “You can change the world with every bite.”

Agriculture provides millions of industry-related jobs to Americans and is responsible for feeding not only our nation, but foreign countries as well. Corporate farming is designed to produce a low-cost, convenient and abundant food supply in a way that organic farming cannot compete with.

Will “Food Inc.” jeopardize the success of meatpacking companies and commodity crops? Will the U.S. witness an influx of organic spending at the supermarket? Will the federal government attempt to modify food-production laws?

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