Food Inc. (2009)
Food Inc. is informative and occasionally jarring, but unless you have no common sense and/or political acumen, nothing here should seem like much of a surprise. The food industry, like most, is about finding faster, cheaper ways to turn higher profits, so it seems natural that the fast-food style system would be integrated into industrial factories. Our current eating lifestyle as a nation is unhealthy and heading toward disaster. But this is old news. Food Inc. makes a mostly compelling case except when it comes to organics. An organic farmer addresses the argument that worldwide organic farming cold never feed enough people, and tosses it aside as “specious.” I’m sorry, global hunger is not a specious argument, and Food Inc. glosses over the facts that organic farming requires a massive amount more land to produce crops, it only uses natural fertilizer which means its more prone to breaks of E. Coli, and, most damning, is more prone to infection because they only use natural pesticides, ignoring decades of scientific improvement, which naturally makes their crops more prone to being wiped out by insects. Which billion people get to be told their hunger doesn’t matter? The film’s most interesting section is when giant food companies control a market and squeeze the legal system to keep it that way, like Monsanto’s near 90 percent hold on soy beans. They hire former military men to spy on farmers and scare them. They engage in frivolous lawsuits because they can afford the legal fees, but a poor farmer can’t, so they admit guilt and settle. The Monsanto dismantling of family farms is scary, way scarier than the hidden camera footage of animals at a slaughterhouse (it’s sad, I’m not a monster, but as long as it’s humane, does a cow really care how it dies?). Food Inc. is an interesting, galvanizing little documentary that makes several good, albeit familiar, points.
Nate’s Grade: B