New Internationalist

Food, Inc.

Issue 430

Directed and co-written by Robert Kenner

Food has become a popular subject for documentary filmmakers. Food, Inc. raises the bar in not only looking good, but in putting it all in context.

You probably believe that cows eat grass. Unfortunately, for them and us, most American cows don’t. They eat corn from feed trays, on gigantic feed lots, known in the business as CAFOs – Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations. Because the cows can’t properly digest corn, mutant, acid-resistant E coli thrive in their guts. It’s unsavoury, sometimes fatal for consumers, but cheap because the US Government massively subsidizes corn growers. So small-scale Mexican growers are bankrupted, but add in low-cost, often illegal, labour (with official connivance) and, hey, American burgers are cheaper than vegetables. So the average American eats four pounds of meat a week, but many can’t afford to buy carrots.

Food, Inc. shows the system in all its technicolour madness but makes it clear that boutique shopping isn’t the solution.


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