The following is an edited version of a National Public Radio show of June 12, 2009 about Food Inc., a new movie.
The new documentary Food Inc. takes aim at corporate giants behind the U.S. food supply. Director Robert Kenner and food advocate and author Michael Pollan made the film to raise Americans' awareness about where their food really comes from.
Pollan says he wanted to address "the pastoral illusion we're spinning in the way we market food... You would think it comes from farms and that ranchers with big hats are producing the meat."
In fact, say Pollan and Kenner, America's food comes primarily from enormous assembly lines, where animals and workers are being abused.
There are so called benefits to the current system; as Pollan points out, Americans spend less than nine percent of their income on food — less than any other people in history. But, he adds, the benefits have come "at an exorbitant cost, because the system depends on cheap fossil fuel to work. The system depends on antibiotics to work. The system depends on abuse to animals to work. And if people want to pay those costs for cheap food, that's great, but let's tell them about the costs first."
The movie does not promote vegetarianism; its aim is to educate about the current factory farm system and its consequences. It is a good movie and I recommend that anyone who wants to learn more about where their food actually comes from watch it. Be warned though, it shows the reality of modern "farming", so if you don't like to see animals being cruelly treated and slaughtered you might find it a bit hard to watch.
Actually, Food Inc. also shows the brutal reality of more natural farming methods as well, for example, in one scene a natural/organic farmer shows how chicken's necks are wrung in the "natural" way, as if that is somehow better than the way it is done on the mass production line (which in some ways I guess it is). If you watched the Sarah Palin interview with chickens having their necks wrung in the background you will know what I am talking about.