Documentary Critique: Food, Inc.

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The documentary Food, Inc. gives its audience not only an unbiased but an informative display of what the industrial food industry truly is. If you were to ask most people if they know how the food they buy is produced they would more than likely say no, which is not okay. Food, Inc. presents the idea that industrialized food; contrary to popular belief, is not cost, health, nor environmentally efficient and I completely agree.

Most people believe that when food is mass-produced it then becomes cost-efficient, but what does that really mean? What does it really mean for something to be “affordable” and who are the ones getting the lower hand of this operation? The company that set the bar for cost-efficient food was McDonalds when they came up with the idea of an assembly-line kitchen where each and every employee has their own specific job. If the employee’s job is limited to one thing, which isn’t very hard, the company can then pay them less which means the production of the item costs less which means they can sell the item for very cheap. Many families eat out at restaurants like McDonald’s because that is all they can afford. If you go into a grocery store and look at how much vegetables cost compared to a cheeseburger at McDonald’s, the cost difference is insane. Not only is McDonald’s the more affordable option, but also the least time consuming because it is prepared in less than minutes for you as you pull around the drive-through. So if McDonald’s is affordable and time-efficient, what is the problem with it?

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The problem with McDonald’s and many other fast-food restaurants is that the food that they are producing is very unhealthy for you. McDonald’s is the number one ground beef buyer in the United States and the ground beef isn’t particularly healthy for you. It is basically the leftovers of the cow and has lots of fat. But the ground beef isn’t the only unhealthy thing about mass-produced meat. Mass-produced meat seems to have a high risk of E Coli and other harmful bacteria. There are cases of contaminated meat quite often in the United States where companies have to recall tons and tons of meat because they can’t track down just a small batch of the meat with how much they produce in a single day. When you eat contaminated meat the risks can be life-threatening and sometimes you won’t be able to tell the difference between a bad case of food poisoning or E Coli. The demand for cows is so high because the consumption of beef is abnormally high for Americans. Since our consumption is so high we mass-produce cattle to the point where they take up more space, especially their food, than we do.

It sounds crazy that something that we sometimes pay just over a dollar for takes up more space and eats more than us. How is that all environmentally efficient? Instead of using our space on Earth for something beneficial such as more land for renewable energy, we choose to crowd our space with cows and corn. Corn also takes up a lot of our land and we use it in well almost everything. Corn products can we found in your soda, in your food, in your toothpaste, and pretty much anything you find in your house. Corn is a very versatile crop that can be used for lots of things including feeding cows. Feeding cows with corn could quite possibly be the stupidest thing, but we do it because we can mass produce corn with no hassle. The restaurant I work for offers a grass-fed beef patty and I never truly understood the importance of grass-fed until watching this documentary. Grass-fed cows are a lot happier and healthier. The chemicals in grass help the cows fight off harmful bacterias such as E Colli, unlike corn which has no real nutritional value except making them fat. Most places charge an upcharge for grass-fed pattys because they are more expensive to buy from farmers, but in the end, the extra couple of dollars can ensure your safety.

The documentary Food, Inc. proposed many good points throughout the film and I felt like it did a very good job of keeping each topic concise and straight to the point. This film would for sure be credible because it took perspectives of many different people, the workers of the factories, the chicken farm owners, the farmers market owners, and people who are personally affected by meat that is mass-produced. There were many good arguments as to why industrialized meat is a bad thing, but the ones that seemed the most significant to me the fact that it is not cost-efficient, it is not healthy, and it is not environmentally correct. It isn’t cost-efficient because spending less on the food doesn’t mean it is quality and produced correctly. It isn’t healthy because there is a chance of getting contaminated meat and even if you get okay meat it still has so much fat that it isn’t nutritionally good for you. Lastly, it isn’t environmentally efficient because we waste so much space on this earth for cattle when it could be used for way more beneficial and long-lasting things.


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