Hungry for Change? Now What?

by Gavan on July 20, 2009

I posted a video a few days ago of the trailer for the movie FOOD, Inc.,which basically outlines where our food comes from. The movie’s been out for a month or so but I only just got around to seeing it last night. Man, this is an eye opener.

A lot of people might assume that our food comes from actual farms but unfortunately the fact of the matter is that a lot of it is mass produced in factories by under paid illegal immigrants. Myself and the missus went to see it and she, being a veggie, well you can imagine her delight when they started showing chickens and cattle being abused. They’re not the only ones–the workers are also being abused. It was an ugly truth. There was so much info in this movie that it would be hard to relay all of it to you guys but to give you just a taste here’s what resonated with me:

  • There’s an average of 47,000 items in any supermarket and the entire lot is controlled/produced by just 4 or 5 companies. Imagine having that much control over what we, the consumer, can buy. Now, just picture all those different brands and selection of products available in your local and just know that 4 or 5 companies control ALL those items. Even ‘green brands’ have gone big corporate: Tom’s of Maine? Now owned by Colgate-Palmolive. Naked Juice is Pepsi. Odwalla is Coca-Cola. Kashi is Kellogg’s. You get the picture.
  • The common ingredient and most farmed product here (which is in a lot of these items) is corn. These food companies have been very clever in utilizing corn in a number of supermarket items from Twinkies to sweets (candy) to ketchup to batteries to diapers. It’s obviously a very versatile crop and has made these companies a bucket load of cash. Money is the name of the game.
  • They are now growing chickens in a third of the time they used to take and twice as big. The conditions under which these chickens are farmed are deplorable and the TYSON brand is a huge culprit, forcing farmers to raise chickens in complete darkness and with the coops filled to the gills. They are also engineering chickens with bigger breasts because people prefer more white meat. Those chicks sound like they could be from LA! (Sorry there lads, just a bit of humour.) But seriously, you wouldn’t believe how scientific our food has become.
  • On to beef.  There are so many problems with the beef industry I don’t know where to begin. Think about it, how is it possible that say McDonald’s can offer a dollar menu with a ‘juicy burger’ on its list but we can’t even by broccoli for a buck? Think that’s proper and safe meat they’re selling? Think again. E-Coli is a huge thing these days, mostly in part due to the way the animals are mistreated (think feces) and the fact that they’re serving them CORN for food = parasites. So to remedy this FOOD, Inc. spoke with a company called IBP (have a look and see who just happens to own IBP) that has found a solution. They make a meat filler for the burger meat and in order to eliminate any chance of contracting E-coli they rinse the filler in………..ammonia. So the next time you order your burger and fries from a fast food chain be confident in the fact that you may not get E-Coli but you have just eaten a mouthful of ammonia. Umm tasty!
  • Then there’s soybeans and diabetes….I’m telling you, so much info was covered in this documentary.

I don’t want to come off all preachy about this movie but people really need to become more aware and more informed about what they’re eating and to get everyone talking about how we can create change for our food. The first thing the Missus and I talked about after the movie was, “Now What?–What more can we do?”  First off, we’ll be researching these large companies and will boycotting them (will keep you posted) and of course we’ll continue to support our local farmers. Here are some other tips from the FOOD, Inc. site to help people change how we eat (and think). The Eat Well Guide is a handy resource which lists local farmers markets, farms, restaurants and Community Supported Agricultural programs in your area (US and Canada), all of which offer organic and sustainable foods, including meats. For Ireland I found this map for fresh food.

I’d really like people to make up their own minds and go see it. If you’ve already seen it I’d like to hear from you guys and/or if you’ve seen any of the other movies that also discuss this topic.

Keep me posted.


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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Ryan | Live Well 360˚ July 20, 2009 at 7:15 pm

I have not seen this movie yet. But from what Gavan has said and what I have read in “Fast Food Nation” it makes me want my own farm, where I control all of my food. But, that is a lot of time and resources that I, as an urbanite, don’t have. I agree with Gavan in regards to supporting local farmers and getting foods that are as “clean” as possible. The great thing is that buying organic, free range, hormone free, humanely treated food is becoming more and more prevalent and in turn, I feel, getting more affordable.

Vote with dollars, it is certainly the why I am choosing to look at this.

David Hall July 21, 2009 at 7:12 am

Scary times Gavan. Looking forward to seeing that eye opener. hope life is sweet.


Val July 27, 2009 at 12:52 pm

Yes, we have not carved the time out to go see “Food Inc”, although we need to…
Scary personal anecdote – last spring my son raised some baby chicks for a school project, we picked up 4 Cornish Rocks (standard meat breed)… Incredibly (almost unbelievably) fast growth – lost 1 baby around 4 wks of age, when #2 & #3 died showing respiratory & neuro signs between 6 – 8 wks of age (normal slaughter age) – I submitted some blood work: (+) for avian leukosis
We were trying to keep #4 alive strictly as a pet, but he could barely walk, a neighbor’s dog got him when he was about 12 wks old.
Unfortunately I still seem to lack the willpower to completely eliminate the poultry from my diet!

Gavan Murphy aka the H.I. August 4, 2009 at 3:45 pm

Hey Val, that’s an interesting read on the link you sent me. I’m with you in terms of not being able to eliminate poultry. I eat organic or grass fed as much as possible but eating out can pose difficulties.
Food Inc is well worth seeing and we found another movie called ‘Ingredients’ but haven’t gotton around to watching that yet. Will post about it I’m sure.
Thanks for the input and sorry about no.4!

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