Thursday I ended my blog with a plug for the documentary movie by Robert Kenner , Food INC. Kenner is an investigative reporter. I watched this movie through Netflix last November. A few weeks after that, I watched part of the Oprah show when she featured the material in that movie. Of course she had nothing to say pro or con when the beef industry was highlighted in the movie. She had already gone to court here in Texas in 1998 once for comments she made a few years ago. She has no desire to repeat that part of her life.
The great majority of this blog will be from notes taken while watching the movie. I watched it again a second time, then I took notes on the first 16 minutes of the film. There is a remaining one hour and 15 minutes of more material on food production in the US. Some of it is extremely appaling…the slaughterhouses handling the beef and pork. The chicken houses….But force yourself to watch it. It is a movie that should be seen by all who blindly purchase food with no thought of its history.
Food production has changed more in the past fifty years than it did in the previous 10,000 years. The major event that happened at that time was the invention of the drive-in with carhops. I have fond memories of that time. Then the car hops were fired and fast food arrived fully on the American scene.
I came from a small village so the first fast food chain restaurant that I remember was a McDonald’s restaurant my freshman year in college in 1964. Prior to that our three drive-ins in the larger town next to us were Kramer’s and Hunt’s, both family owned, and Steak and Shake, a drive-in still in its infancy. All three were very successful due to the growing crop of baby boomers now in their teens. But then came the super fast food restaurants with McDonald’s leading the way. Whatever McDonald’s wanted, McDonald’s got and so did the rest of the nation.
The supermarket now completely removes us from where the food originates. There are now no bones. There are no butcher shops. This is thanks to the fast food industry which is the biggest buyer of beef, chicken, pork, potatoes, tomatoes, lettuce, and apples. When you are the biggest, food industries do it your way. That’s when industry took over the production of food and the results have been not pleasant.Food Inc. goes to chicken raisers who only grow the chickens for the big chicken producers like Tyson and Perdue. The chickens never see light. They are raised in dark tunnels. Their breasts have been genetically engineered so that they are so big, the chickens cannot walk. Chickens twice the size they were thirty years ago are raised in half the time. One woman’s contract was terminated when she refused to start using the tunnels and kept the houses with windows. Even at that, she scooped out dead chickens every day. The producers keep the raisers in constant debt with all their demands thus having raisers who will not go public for risk of losing their contracts.
At the feedlots, cows stand in manure up to their knees. Manure gets all over their bodies. When they are slaughtered, that manure can’t be helped but be washed into the meat. The meat is washed in bleach or ammonia to kill the bacteria.
Pigs are herded into a pen. A gigantic weight is lowered from above and the pigs are smashed between the weight and the floor to kill large numbers of pigs at the same time. They also have problems with their manure.
Remember the spinach with the E coli recently? The runoff from these huge animal processing plants was running into the fields carrying the manure and the E. coli with it.
The workers being hired are now mostly illegals from Mexico. They know they have no power and cannot complain. They are subjected to very hazardous working conditions as far as accidents and infection and have to keep their mouths closed. When Immigration officials swoop down on these companies, they deport the workers but never the management staff. Coming in, the busloads of people going to these places are never stopped by immigration officials.
One little boy named Kevin died a horrific death from hemorrhagic colon problems caused by eating hamburger full of E coli. It took him twelve days to die. The meat was traced. It was still being sold to the public two weeks after the company was notified of his death. The mother and grandmother took their concerns to Congress and finally just this past July got a bill concerning food safety passed in the House. They still have the Senate. The food companies have powerful lobbyists to block the bill from becoming law. It won’t be easy.
The film goes on and on making one wish that the land and the knowledge were available to plant, harvest, and preserve all of one’s own food were reality. Fortunately, the next best thing is buying organic. I have friends who have bought organic for years, but it never seemed to matter to me. I started seeing more organic food in of all places, Walmart. Walmart, the purveyor of cheap, has embraced more natural food as their customers began requesting it. It costs more, but after being afraid to buy fresh spinach and lettuce and watching that film, I believe I am in line to change my thinking. Walmart is portrayed in the film as one of the major hopes of this country.
Buying organic has now become more important than my purse, because in the long run, I will spend much less spending more on organic food and the gas to drive the twelve miles to shop at the nearest Farmer’s Market for fresh produce than on medical bills produced by eating something dangerous. Organic is a time which has come.
Please watch the movie. It is available through Amazon and Netflix just to name two sites. Search the net for sites discussing the film. Get it somehow. It talks about things that the multinational food conglomerates have tried to keep secret from their customers. It is something that might save a life and certainly make the raising of meat products much safer and humane. The market is run by public demand. If we vote with our purses, perhaps one consumer at a time can get these producers to change. This is something we MUST do before we kill ourselves by eating. Namaste. Attic Annie
To be as fair as possible, the meat industry has a rebuttal web sitehttp://meatami.com/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/i/55910 That treats the statements on Food Inc. as myths. Who does one believe? How can the truth be discovered? Tis a puzzlement.