One of Food, Inc.’s charges is that where our food comes from and how it is produced is pretty much a secret. Most food is produced by a small number of companies, and they want to keep us, like the chickens, in the dark. I guess I should be outraged, but I probably would rather not know what I’m eating. After all, I can stop eating meat, eliminate preservatives, go organic, but I can’t completely stop eating. If I don’t eat beef for fear of E. coli, I’m still taking chances with spinach and lettuce that become contaminated from feed lot run-off.
The thing that outrages me is the minimal effort the government puts into ensuring the safety of our food. We’re eating lots more meat, but inspections are done at but a small fraction of what they once were. Serious sanitary problems may arise in a food processing facility, but recalls are delayed and plant closings are few.
Another Food, Inc. point is that consumers are conditioned to want certain products, most of which are bad for them. We live in a country that mass produces foods of destruction, then mitigates its role by educating us about what we should and shouldn’t eat. Sure we listen to all that advertising—maybe not consciously—but why don’t we pay attention to warnings about the unhealthy effects of various foods? There has got to be a point where the people doing the eating are held accountable. When was the last time Ronald McDonald held a gun to your head and said, “Eat a Happy Meal or else”?
We are surrounded by food, and we are surrounded by choices. Most of us choose whatever is easiest. Yep, we’re not only fat, but we’re lazy, too. We’re also deluded, thinking that we work hard when hardly any of us raises a sweat. The people who complain most about all the “hard work” they’re doing (on their butts, behind their desks) don’t know what hard work is. Yes, there are plenty of people who do have to work hard to make a living, but they’re doing it, not complaining about it.
The most disturbing segments of Food, Inc. are not about how animals are treated or mistreated. Far worse is the way the courts and government agencies are used to fulfill large corporations’ agendas. Is it possible that one company can own the entire production of a particular crop nationwide (through patents and copyrights), and can ruin farmers who grow that crop? Is it really in America where (in one particular state) you can go to jail for saying something negative about ground beef? Of course it is. The same America where Oprah Winfrey spent a million dollars defending her right to say that mad cow disease made her think twice about eating a cheeseburger.