The Orozcos in Food, Inc.
Thursday, December 3 at 7pm Empire Studio, Avalon Mall (MUN Cinema Series)
Wanna see how burgers are made? Of course you don’t! Alas, the recent documentary, Food, Inc. wants us to grow up.
The film makes me harken back to Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me, the 2004 documentary in which Spurlock eats McDonald’s thrice daily. Super Size Me was touted as a probing look at the effects of the fast food we eat, as well as the lack of healthy alternatives for Americans—but the Oscar-nominated film fell far short of the reception it received.
Super Size Me wasn’t so much about food and corporate responsibility as it was a vehicle for Spurlock as filmmaker, host and test subject to sling wisecracks. Super Size Me spends several minutes lingering on obese people set to Queen’s “Fat Bottom Girls,” but devotes no time to ask how they got that way.
But when Food, Inc. spends time with a family of four who eat fast food daily, it offers a heartbreaking reveal: It’s less expensive to buy two hamburgers than it is to buy a head of broccoli.
Food, Inc. interviews a variety of subjects ranging from journalist and Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser to farmers and factory workers at meat processing plants. The film presents one of the horrifying truths behind the methods of harvesting and processing food: E. coli is on the rise because animal feces is getting in our food.
More horrifying facts pile up throughout the film’s 94 minute running time: Chickens are bred without ever having seen sunlight. Ammonia is revealed to be used as filler in hamburger meat as a means of dealing with the aforementioned E. coli problem. We see meat-packing plants actively recruiting illegal immigrant workers without reproach from the law.
All of this builds up to the unsurprising, but disturbing revelation of a villain at the heart of much of it: Monsanto, a corporation with so much clout with both the Clinton and Bush administrations that it dictates food legislation more or less single-handedly. (Farmers, for instance, can’t even re-plant their own soy bean seeds because it’s a legal violation of a patent owned by Monsanto.)
Food, Inc. is a disquieting, fascinating movie. Although it has not received the attention or cultural status of Morgan Spurlock’s self-serving (no pun intended) Super Size Me, Food, Inc. is the definitive film about what we’re all eating.