My Review of Food Inc

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I’d like to preface this review by stating that I asked whether people would rather hear an unbiased review or my personal opinion on Food Inc, and at the time that I began to write this, 47 people had said they wanted to hear my personal opinion, and no one asked for an unbiased review.  So, if you want to read a summary of the movie, check out this site.  Most of the facts on this post are from the Food Inc website.

There were two aspects of Food Inc that really spoke to me and that I will cover in this review:

 

  • The fact that our government is entirely toothless when it comes to ensuring food safety.
  • Factory farming of animals is a disgusting practice for a variety of social, environmental, and moral reasons.

 

Food Inc opens with the following quote: "“There is this deliberate veil, this curtain that’s drawn between us and where our food is coming from. The industry doesn’t want you to know the truth about what you’re eating because if you knew, you might not want to eat it.”  That is the whole point of the movie — we are so disconnected from the source of our food (both meat and non-meat) and as a result, we are damaging our bodies and our environment faster than ever before.

 

One of the primary issues presented in the film is that our food sources have been monopolized by just a few companies.  In fact, in the 1970s, the top five beef packers controlled about 25% of the market. Today, the top four control more than 80% of the market.  Additionally, the vast majority of the meat produced in the United States is slaughtered at one of THIRTEEN slaughterhouses.

 

Do you see a problem with that?  I do!  Imagine if one of those slaughterhouses became contaminated with a super-virus.   Unsafe foods cause an estimated 76 million illnesses and 5,000 deaths each year in the United States.  Furthermore, think about the conditions of those slaughterhouses.  They are basically enormous factories in which animals are killed as quickly as possible — the focus is not on humanity, but on efficiency.

 

If you think there are laws in place to protect the consumer and ensure the humane treatment of animals, you are wrong. Way wrong.  Did you know that in 1998, the USDA implemented microbial testing for salmonella and E. coli 0157h7 (the very dangerous and deadly strain) so that if a plant repeatedly failed these tests, the USDA could shut down the plant?  After being taken to court by the meat and poultry associations, the USDA no longer has that power. 

 

In 1972, the FDA conducted 50,000 food safety inspections. In 2006, the FDA conducted only 9,164

 

Our government is TOOTHLESS.  Our government cannot shut down a factory if the meat is literally killing people.  Our government cannot pass legislation that protects consumers, because the meat, poultry, and dairy industries sue the shit out of the government in court.  Furthermore, the people in power are sitting pretty in the back pocket of big business.   

 

  • During the Bush administration, the head of the FDA was the former executive VP of the National Food Processors Association.
  • During the Bush administration, the chief of staff at the USDA was the former chief lobbyist for the beef industry in Washington.

 

Hello, conflict of interest?!?!  Do you see why I do not trust our government at all?  We have allowed power to become too centralized.  Of the 47,000 products in the average grocery store, most are made by just a handful of companies. 

 

Not only are these giant companies placing their bottom line above the interests of YOUR health and YOUR safety, but they abuse their workers like you wouldn’t believe.  Meat packing used to be one of the safest, comfiest jobs in the industrial sector, but due to the boom of the sector, the weakening of unions, and several other factors, it is now the most dangerous.  Most of the workers are illegal workers bused in from Mexico.  These workers function in horrible, smelly, bacteria-infested conditions, and they earn minimum wage (or less). 

 

When our government cracks down on illegal workers, do you ever stop to wonder why they aren’t attacking the companies that bused these people to America and gave them jobs in the first place?  Hmph, I wonder.

 

Giant meat companies also abuse their farmers.  They keep them trapped in a cycle of debt so they cannot get out of their contracts.  The average chicken farmer invests over $500,000 and makes only $18,000 a year.  Again – power in the hands of few at the expense of the average person.

 

Which brings me to the discussion about factory farming.  I ate meat until three months ago.  What made me go vegetarian? I really THOUGHT about how my meat was getting to my plate.

 

We go to the supermarket and we see row after row of packaged meat.  It’s not an animal to us, it’s simply another food product.  We are so removed from the process of raising, feeding, and slaughtering these animals that we do not even see a hamburger as a cow. 

 

I truly do NOT understand how someone can see Food Inc and continue eating factory farmed meat.  My only explanation is that people choose to "ignore" the situation.   Because I feel like I "ignored" all the information I had about factory farming for 25 years of my life. Ignoring the situation does not mean it’s not happening.

 

If you really stop to THINK about the conditions of factory farms, how can you justify eating factory farmed meat?  Factory chickens spend their entire lives crammed in dark rooms.  They never see the light of day.   Chickens are de-beaked to keep them from fighting and "ruining the meat."  Cows spend their entire existence standing in knee-deep manure.   They never touch or eat grass.  They are castrated without medication.  Pigs live in tiny crates that are too small to turn around it.

 

I went vegetarian because I realized that I come home every night and I coddle my dogs. I pet them and sing to them.  I walk them and I bathe them.  Hell, I even let them SLEEP with me.  I would never do anything to hurt my dogs.  Tell me, why are pigs or cows or chicken different from your family pets? Why is it illegal to beat a dog, but it’s OK to treat a farm animal in this manner?  I’ll tell you why — because big business earns more money the faster and cheaper they grow and slaughter these animals.

 

Look, everyone has to deal with their own hypocrisy about their food choices.  I’m a vegetarian because of the moral implications of eating factory farmed meat, but I still drink milk and eat eggs.  Am I perfect? No. Would I like to be? Well, obviously yes.  But I cannot be perfect for a variety of reasons — my own weaknesses, my financial situation, the availability in my area to purchase free-roam and organic animal products. 

 

I’m not trying to say that I’m better than you because you eat meat.  I’m not riding around on my moral high horse.  I’m just asking you to think about the moral, environmental, and societal implications of eating factory farmed meat.  If you can come to a place when you feel educated and aware and you still want to eat meat occasionally, more power to you.  It’s a personal choice.  

 

Food Inc presented organic, grass-fed, and free-roam meat as an alternative to factory farmed meat.  Food Inc is NOT pro-vegetarian or anti-meat. They spotlight a natural farm as an example of how meat can be produced in a more humane manner.  I guess I think that organic, grass-fed, and free-roam is a BETTER alternative than factory farming and it may be the solution for a lot of people.  Is it an alternative that would work for me? No.

 

So, what’s the solution to these problems? 

 

Gary Hirshberg, founder of Stonyfield Farm, says that “The irony is that the average consumer does not feel very powerful. They think that they are the recipients of whatever industry has put there for them to consume. Trust me, it’s the exact opposite. Those businesses spend billions of dollars to tally our votes. When we run an item past the supermarket scanner, we’re voting.”

 

Food Inc made me realize that EVERY FOOD PURCHASE YOU MAKE HAS AN IMPLICATION for the rest of the country and the world.  When you chose to buy organic or local products, you are sending a message to big business.  If you try to eat vegetarian or buy organic, grass-fed, and free-roam meat, you are telling these companies that their methods are NOT acceptable.

 

The Food Inc website lists 10 simple things you can do to help fight the system.  How has Food Inc changed me?

 

  • I’m more committed than ever to being a vegetarian.
  • I’m going to make an effort to go to the farmers’ market once a weekend and buy my produce locally.
  • We’re going to spring for organic products (especially dairy) whenever possible.  It’s more expensive, but the environmental, social, and moral costs are higher.

 

Again, that was just my opinion.  I’m curious to hear yours!

{ 67 comments }

 

  • Kristen July 11, 2009, 7:44 am

    Hi Caitlin!
    I've been a reader for about 6 months but I'm a first time commenter. I love your review of Food Inc. I have yet to see the movie but have heard a lot about it(my mom and I are big fans of Michael Pollan). I especially appreciate your discussion of the treatment of animals who are raised for meat. I have been a vegetarian for about a year and a half for health and animal rights issues. The conditions for these animals is appalling. Lots of my friends thought my decision to be vegetarian was crazy (probably because I went veg at 18) but now some of them are starting to understand and agree with my decision. Hopefully this film educates people about the food situation in our country…wonderful post!

  • Jenna July 11, 2009, 7:50 am

    Great review, Caitlin!!! I can't wait to see the movie myself…sounds like something every American should see.

  • Susan July 11, 2009, 7:50 am

    Wow ! A lot to think about. A lot to consider. Not to mention scarey as hell ! Thanks for your honest opinion .

  • eatingjourney July 11, 2009, 7:51 am

    I totally agree with what you have to say. Let me write two quick things…they hit me after I went to Timor.

    1. I will only buy organic unless I absolutley can't find what I need. When I was in Timor I ate the most amazing food…ever. Simple yet amazing. The oranges weren't the size of my head..they were the size of my palm..if I got a big one. Why? Becuase they can't afford to use pesticides and chemicals. It's all organic.

    2. I will only buy organic meat…and I have to know where it comes from..otherwise I am a veg head. I have to say that I went to an aniaml sacrafice and saw a goat/chicken/water buffalo killed before my eyes. It wasn't pretty. Honestly I wanted to vomit. I could feel my 'cultural walls' raising up. Then I had to say to myself 'Michelle, those animals are free range and organic. For 99.9% of their lives they've roamed around freely. Get over the fact that you say them killed. 99.9% of the meat that you've eaten before Timor was put into a cage and pumped full of hormones..remember those Costco Chicken Breasts?" Yeah..seeing animals be killed is not exciting, fun, etc. However, if I had to choose between eating a chicken in timor or something neatly packaged in Oz/America..I'd pick timor hands down.

    The way the organic food tastes makes every single dollar more that you spend on it..worth it. Especially if you go to farmers markets..sometimes it's even cheaper.

    I am glad that it hit you. I am glad that you're open to it. Reshuffle your life, make good choices, know that you can't be the best at making choices all the time, but in your daily life that you can control you can. I love eating organic and honestly I feel so much better. The moment I put processed crap into my body I can feel it.

  • Dori July 11, 2009, 7:53 am

    What a review. I am going to see this movie next weekend, but I am conflicted because of health reasons. I can't eat vegetables (go vegetarian) due to a GI condition, but if I don't want to eat meat anymore, what is left? (I avoid dairy too)… When I buy my own chicken, I always get organic, antibiotic free, grass fed. But when I go to restaurants, I order what is there. I think that is where I need to be more aware.

    Either way, I'd like to have all the facts to make my most informed decision possible. Thanks for this review.

  • Nicole (anotheronebitesthecrust.wordpress.com) July 11, 2009, 7:54 am

    I very much agree with everything you wrote here. I really hope that this movie gets out to a lot of the population, as it's very hard to ignore what's going on after seeing it. I, too, ignored where my food was coming from before going vegan a couple years ago. I convinced myself that the animals lived on happy, small farms wandering in meadows and coming and going as they please. Yikes, was I wrong!!

    Anyway, the factory farming wasn't as much of a surprise to me now, but I was totally appalled my Monsanto. I knew they were bad before, but the movie actually SCARED me!

  • Poppy July 11, 2009, 7:59 am

    Hi! I finally got to see Food Inc last week. It made me both sad and angry at the same time! There was a statistic in the movie that really impacted me –

    1 out of 3 children born after the year 2000 will at some point in their lives develop type 2 diabetes. For minorities that number jumps to 1 out of 2.

    I was blown away by that and so many other parts of this movie. I was already in the process of changing the way I consume food, and this movie made me take an even closer look.

    It also made me realize that as a cosumer I DO have power. I think it's a movie that EVRYONE needs to see!

    Thanks for your review!

  • sloank July 11, 2009, 8:06 am

    I love this review, Caitlin! Although it is a bit harsh, it is the truth!! I actually do not eat close to any meat with the exception of what I can buy at Whole Foods, meat which is "locally grown." I unfortunately cannot say the same for my family. I would love to take my parents to this movie to see if it can make my "meat and potatoes" kind of father think about the issue and alter what he eats. I wonder if this movie can make not just health-conscious people think a bit about what we put into our body, but people who might not have been concerned with the issue prior to the movie.

  • havefaith4ever July 11, 2009, 8:16 am

    Hey Caitlin! Glad to hear you got to see the movie and that it really moved you. I would love to see it now more than ever. Thank you for giving your honest opinion, which rocks! I definitely agree with you. I am definitely going to buy organic/free range meats when given the opportunity. I know that when I grow up and have a family of my own, I will be SURE to do the same. Probably much more stringent than now because I will control what I buy. Thank you so much for this wonderful post šŸ™‚
    <3 jess

  • Nicci July 11, 2009, 8:18 am

    Everyone in the blogworld has been talking about FOOD Inc. and it made me really think back to why I went vegetarian years ago.This review you did was great! I think you should express your own opinion! It was hard for me as a veggie in highschool but I'm older now and I'm able to buy my own food, so I've decided to transition back into vegetarianism especially after last month when I read an article that said ''You eat me, but you wouldn't eat your dog'' and it stook with me to the point I started thinking about it every time I ate. The meat industry has taken over but ''we'' do have the power to take control again! I can't afford free range animal products but I can eat veggies and fruits and help the environment! lol thanks again Caitlin!!

  • jpalacio July 11, 2009, 8:21 am

    I'm so glad i read this . . . im actually watching it tonight in nyc . . . im excited but also very anxious.
    But, anyway, the past year i have been eating way less meat and now i don't eat red meat and eat organic, free range chicken about once or twice a week. About 90% of the time my dies resembles that of a vegetarian, but i would be lying if i said i didn't enjoy the occasional prosciutto pizza. Unfortunately, eating locally is so darn expensive, but i def will try to make more and more changes in my life to become a "locavore" and become more of vegetarian.
    But, hey, who knows? After seeing the film tonight i may refuse to touch any sort of meat with a stick!

    p.s. both my sis and i are animal lovers, but she considers herself a "meat-etarian" . . . she loves bacon and steak with a passion but after i described the conditions farm animals live in she promised me she was going to make steps to avoid red meat and eat less of any kind of meat. Well, actually, she very dramatically proclaimed she was becoming a vegan, but i told her to take baby steps. Hey at least she's motivated! Can't wait until she sees the movie tonight!

  • Anonymous July 11, 2009, 8:22 am

    Hi! I'm a veterinary student, so I've seen where farm animals are kept. And it hurts me to see how they suffer. I am not a vegetarian, but I rarely eat meat. I think I need those amino acids in animal products, so I am not willing to become one. I sincerely hope that the laws will change, as they change slowly for poultry cages in EU. I know the "negative" sides of keeping animals free, but I just don't think they are negative. So what if the meat quality won't be SOO good. I can live with that, at least I'll have stronger teeth šŸ˜€
    So, I'm all for organic, free animals, and destruction of the farms that care only about money and profit, and not at all about animals.

    Marina

  • recipesforcreativity July 11, 2009, 8:25 am

    I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on this movie. Thankfully, I'm already working hard to do the things this movie seems to suggest, but it's always a reminder that I can do more.

    Though I am a vegetarian I don't condemn others for eating meat, I think the disconnect is really scary; that people don't even associate meat as something that comes from an animal. I don't eat much dairy, in fact mostly yogurt from Stonyfield Farms, but I will be extra vigilant about keeping it organic. Good thoughts!

  • MarathonVal July 11, 2009, 8:28 am

    I enjoyed reading your thoughtful review. I am psyched to see it myself.

    I was especially interested to hear about your HUSBAND'S opinion of the film. I assume he eats meat (as my husband does) – did this sway his opinion at all?

  • Sayer July 11, 2009, 8:29 am

    Thanks for your review Caitlin!

    At one point you state that "Meat packing used to be one of the safest, comfiest jobs in the industrial sector, but due to the boom of the sector, the weakening of unions, and several other factors, it is now the most dangerous." While I am not trying to demean the conditions that current workers are facing, I would like to point out that the meat packing industry has been a less than ideal employer for a very long time.

    If you haven't already, you should read The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, an author and socialist journalist. It was written in 1906 about the corruption of the American meatpacking industry in the early 20th century. Although the novel is written as fiction, it chronicles his time spent in total immersion at the Chicago stockyards.

    Sinclair's main goal was to provide exposure for the workers. Today workers may be immigrants from Mexico, but in the early 1900s they were immigrants from Eastern Europe. However, the public focused on his writing about the unsanitary conditions in which their meat was prepared. Sale of American meat dropped, and as a result, meat packers actually lobbied the government to create an inspection and certification program which eventually became the FDA. Obviously, highly influenced by the meat packers, it was hard to create many meaningful regulations. I would need to do more research to find out if things actually got better in between the time that The Jungle was written and now. Maybe things improved mid-century? I don't know.

    Workers rights were still mostly ignored by the public, and Sinclair is quoted as saying "I aimed at the public's heart, and by accident I hit it in the stomach."

    Sorry for the history lesson! This seems to be a trend throughout American corporate history–awareness is spread, some people protest and get angry, a small regulation is created that looks good on the surface, but in reality does nothing, the general public is placated, and things eventually get worse. Hopefully things will get better!

    Thanks Caitlin!

    Sayer
    http://neonfruit.wordpress.com

  • Melinda July 11, 2009, 8:29 am

    I've been talking to my family & friends about this issue for years- I'm glad they finally made a movie about it so more people can be educated about it- I already know what goes on behind closed doors – it's the reason I went Veg. I saw things on the internet that I never want to see again- the most inhumane things are done to factory farm animals. I actually have the PETA video which will make ANYONE go vegetarian!

    We buy free range/organic meats for my hubby. We just went in on a local cow- we also have our own garden and buy organic-we've been doing this for years- I've actually finally gotten some of my family to listen and start buying free range and also raise their own chickens, cows & pigs. Factory Farming = making the Greedy heartless men richer- it's that simple. I choose to support the Organic, Fair Trade and Local farmers rather than put more $ in the rich man's pocket. This issue is definitely one that really tugs at my heart strings.

    Thanks for posting.

  • Maddy July 11, 2009, 8:49 am

    Hey Caitlin! I loved hearing your opinion on this movie. I currently only eat chicken and fish and can honestly (but shamefully) say that I have ignored the fact that I know the conditions these chickens are in while they are fattened up to come to my table. I agree that while it may not be the best choice, it is definitely better to get organic chicken. Another point you mentioned that totally stuck with me, is the fact that everytime we make a purchase we are sending a signal to these big corporations. I think that is something that will stick with me as I go grocery shopping and choose what to buy.

    Thank you for a great review! =)

  • inmytummy July 11, 2009, 8:56 am

    You know what pisses me off? I have told several of my friends to see the movie and they won't because they think it will "make them not want to eat." Ignorance is NOT bliss and I think that the movie did a wonderful job highlighting that fact.

    Have you read "Mad Cowboy"? That's the book that Oprah read when she declared that she wasn't going to eat hamburgers and got sued by the beef industry. An interesting book.

    I actually had a different part of the movie speak to me the most – the part where the family eats at Burger King because it's cheap and filling and yet the father is on all sorts of high blood pressure and diabetes meds. I have been meaning to write a post about that actually.

  • Kimberly July 11, 2009, 9:01 am

    Insightful, articulate review. I don't think your comments were inflammatory, but I think they addressed issues that many Americans choose to ignore (how many times have I heard, "Don't tell me what's in McDonald's food; I want to enjoy my Big Mac.") While some information in Food, Inc. has been addressed by other books and films, I am grateful for every forum that further exposes the public to these issues.

    I'm living in Argentina for the summer, and it's only opened my eyes to how twisted the American food industry is. Here, the only produce available is local and in-season, and animal products are raised in Argentina. There is virtually no access to packaged deli meat, frozen chicken breasts pumped up with water solutions, or imported "convenience" products, and very, very few corporate grocery chains. At first I was mildly annoyed by the lack of "one stop shopping" (you go to the verduleria for produce, then the cheese shop, then the butcher, etc.), but it's now such a pleasure to support local farmers and knowledgeable small-business merchants, while knowing that my food is purchased at the peak of freshness (and for insanely cheap prices!) It's completely changed my approach to shopping and cooking, and I only wish that these types of merchants had a chance in hell of surviving against Wal-Mart and factory farms in the U.S.

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point July 11, 2009, 9:03 am

    sayer – good point! obvi, way back in the day, the meat industry was terrible, terrible. i guess i was referring to a part in the movie that talks about the conditions of working in the meat industry right before the fast food boom — at that point, it was comparable to being in the auto industry.

    marathon val – the husband thought the movie didnt really TELL him anything he didn't already know (or basically knew) but it reaffirmed his commitment to vegetarianism and buying locally or organically.

  • lookingforserenity July 11, 2009, 9:04 am

    This is the reason i'm a vegetarian. I really appreciate your personal review.

  • Julie July 11, 2009, 9:07 am

    Excellent review. I actually just became a vegetarian a few weeks ago (well, technically, a "pescatarian" because I still eat fish) after readind fast food nation and watching a few videos on the peta website. It's disgraceful how animals are treated for food. And like you were saying, up until I watched those videos and read that book, I saw chicken as food, not an animal. It's sad and I feel bad for thinking that. Animals have feelings too, they feel pain just as much as we do, and wathcing a chicken keel over and die because it was injected with so many damn hormones that it's organs stopped fuctioning was heartbreaking. I read labels throughly now, and if the ingredients list is too long for me to even want to read I put it down. I eat as much organic as I can, and if I can't because of cost I buy local. I wish everyone would see this movie (I still haven't though!!) or read a Michael Pollan book and think twice about what they are doing to their, and their childrens, bodies. Knowing what I now know, it kills me to see parents feleing their kids chips and soda and fast food. I wish this movie would go mainstream so more people could see it.

  • Veggie Runnr July 11, 2009, 9:10 am

    Thank you for your very honest review Caitlin! I'm a vegetarian because of health and animal rights reasons and I can't wait to see Food Inc. Of course only we decide what to put in our own bodies, but we need to educate ourselves and make informed choices!

    I like a book called "The China Study" by T. Collin Campbell, Ph.D. A section of his book talks about his time spent in Washington working to call attention to the benefits of a plant based diet, and although he went in armed with the results of his decades-long comprehensive nutrition research showing direct links between animal protein and cancer, obesity, and heart disease- our governing leaders are so in bed with the beef, dairy, and pharmaceutical industries that they hushed him up and sent him packing! These leaders, whom we elect and who's salaries our taxes pay, are definitely not acting in our best interests.

  • Cat Cat July 11, 2009, 9:10 am

    I thought the movie was wonderful. I already eat as much organic food as I can and when I decided to eat organic I was spending so much money on organic food it helped me to not buy junk food because 1. it didn't make sense since I am trying to eat healthy food so then defeating the purpose in my mind and 2. I couldn't afford to buy one more thing not even a piece of candy if I wanted to. I also waste less because I feel like I am losing more.

    Last week at whole foods I spent 42.00 on one grocery bag full of produce and milk- a bit much but I will continue to do it.

  • Melissa July 11, 2009, 9:20 am

    Caitlin,
    This is the first time I've commented on your blog (I read everyday and love it). Thank you so much for your honest review. I saw the movie after hearing a debate about it from both points of view on NPR. I agree with most everything you said.
    I live in Boston so it was very easy for me to see "Food Inc." in the city. I wish it had a wider release so it's message could be more widespread. It sucks that movies like, "Paul Blart Mall Cop" get a wider release than something as important as "Food Inc." Again, thanks for your honest review and all the time you put in on your blog each day šŸ™‚

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point July 11, 2009, 9:23 am

    melissa – thank you for commenting šŸ™‚

  • Aggie July 11, 2009, 9:27 am

    Though I'm not a vegetarian, I am very concerned about where my meat/food is coming from. It really scares me and hurts me to know the truth. Thanks for the review of the movie, I'm happy it came to the Orlando area.

    Now on a more local note, other than the farmers markets for produce, do you know where I would be able to buy more organic/free range meat…I guess Publix? I don't live by Whole Foods…I guess I just have to take advantage of sales in the meat dept. We eat minimal red meat, mostly chicken, turkey and fish. It's hard b/c when you are feeding a family, and are on a budget it's hard to pass up chicken for $1.99 a pound…I'll admit that. I always feel so conflicted.

  • Fitnessista July 11, 2009, 9:32 am

    thanks for posting this review. i know it won't come to theaters in valdosta, but i can't wait to see it.
    i think about animals the same way as my pets, too. i would die to see our puppies treated the way factory farm animals are abused. it's truly horrifying.
    i just wanted to mention the HEALTH benefits of buying organic, too. the amount of money you'll save in health costs by refusing to put chemical-laden "foods" into your body is well worth the extra cost of choosing organic. buying organic is not only much better for the environment, but also is WAY better for health reasons. well worth the extra dollar in my opinion šŸ˜€

  • Thinspired July 11, 2009, 9:34 am

    Thanks for this thoughtful and honest review, Caitlin. I probably won't get to see the movie for a while, so I really appreciate this!

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point July 11, 2009, 9:38 am

    aggie – yes publix has organic but im not sure if its local. i would say that vegetarian is cheaper than meat. šŸ™‚

  • Shannon (The Daily Balance) July 11, 2009, 9:41 am

    Thanks for the thoughtful and passionate review šŸ˜‰

    I think I'm seeing the movie this weekend, its finally showing here!!

  • Sarah (LovIN My Tummy) July 11, 2009, 9:42 am

    Andrea (Care to Eat) and I are going to see this next week, and I can't wait! I think we are two of the LAST people that need to see this, though. I wish it were a more mainstream movie that EVERYONE would see. I just read excerpts to my husband from your review. I'm sure he was lovin it. šŸ˜‰

  • Martha July 11, 2009, 10:29 am

    What did you mean that the government is toothless?

  • Jenn July 11, 2009, 11:02 am

    Yes, exactly to all of this. This is why I've gone vegetarian as well. Thanks for the great post.

    Oh, and poke around the internet some, and you can find LOADS of coupons for your favorite organic goodies. I bought three half gallons of organic Horizon milk for $0.50/each this week.

  • Angie Eats Peace July 11, 2009, 11:12 am

    Excellent review! I am a vegan and agree with this information 100% I definitely want to check it out.

    Thanks for giving your opinon šŸ™‚

  • Laura July 11, 2009, 11:15 am

    I'm glad you posted your true thoughts! I was vegetarian for over 10 years, then started eating meat again in my early 20s. I was 100 pounds overweight at the time and not as knowledgeable about nutrition as I am now. Introducing meat back into my diet got me off the processed soy (I avoid it because of thyroid issues) and away from the cheese filled, high calorie meals when I ate out, which I did a lot during that time. I've recently cut WAY back on my meat consumption. I still eat it, but I make a conscious effort to buy organic and local products. I don't think twice about spending $5 for eggs at the farmers market because I know where they came from. Fortunately, right now, my financial situation allows me to do such things. Even if that situation changes, I'll continue to buy organic and local animal products when they're available. That's a non-negotiable for me. I've heard some scary things about factory organic farming as well, such as cows being fed organic grain and not grass. I don't know any facts on the issue though. Local is the way to go!

  • Peanut Butter Swirl July 11, 2009, 11:19 am

    While I have not seen this movie, I have read numerous reviews by bloggers. It only reinforces my love for Upton Sinclair and Teddy Roosevelt because at least they TRIED to make a difference in out meat packing industry. Shame on the government for not having the power to shut down factories that can be harming us!

  • K from ksgoodeats July 11, 2009, 11:28 am

    I haven't seen Food Inc myself so I appreciate all of your thoughts on the movie. I wish that the everyday person would go see this and not just people who are already (most likely) aware of some of these issues.

  • Danielle July 11, 2009, 12:22 pm

    Oh gosh Caitlin, fantastic review. I feel like I could talk about this movie for hours and people need to hear it. I can definitely say that I am HUNGRY FOR A CHANGE… http://daniellestudiesabroad.blogspot.com/2009/07/hungry-for-change.html

  • Anonymous July 11, 2009, 12:58 pm

    In all fairness, bear in mind you are speaking from a privilege of being ABLE to make these decisions. If you live in say…Alaska (where produce is shipped in frozen and you can't find a lot of animal products that are free range, at least not *traditional* ones) or a rural area in the mountains, your options for eating clean and locally are often limited. You can be aware of a lot of these things and have your hands tied in terms of what is available to you, which is unfortunate.

    Its also worth noting that there are a lot of complexities that go into the legal issues you refer to. It isn't quite as simple as government evil – rather, its the byproduct of a capitalist society. Its why I've said for years, we have a lot of freedom as a result of the way our country is set up…but as a result, the government doesn't really owe us anything.

    -Kate

  • ms July 11, 2009, 2:02 pm

    caitlin ~ what a great review!! i love how you're always honest and not afraid of saying exactly what you think! it's very refreshing.

    i am going to check out that movie. i was a vegetarian for many years, then started eating organic meat every now and then when we had kids a few years ago. i've come to realize that, over the past few years, we are eating meat more frequently during the week and i'd like to scale that down. seeing the movie will, i'm sure, be quite a motivator for me to be more aware of cutting back.

    thank you for your honesty in every one of your posts ~ it's nice to see someone be true to themselves and those around them.

  • Kelsey July 11, 2009, 2:28 pm

    i totally agree with your paragraph about why is it ok to kill pigs + cows + chickens? they ARE animals too! i just cant get over how people are such hipocrits about this, like my parents! they are such animal lovers, yet they will never consider skipping the meat department because they feel that they are here to feed humans. AHHH! i cant disagree more. anyway, i could talk about that + animal rights all day long. i just wanted to say that i completely agree!!! i want to see this movie, and hopefully it will change the world someday!!!

  • Jennifer @ His N' Her Health July 11, 2009, 2:36 pm

    Part of the reason I went veg is the same thing you said about how it is illegal to hurt dogs but not other animals. Based on your review (and others) I feel like I new all that stuff from reading a few books. I still really want to see it though. Hopefully it plays here soon!

  • Feed Me I'm Cranky July 11, 2009, 3:23 pm

    Hey Caitlin! Loved your review. I'll be honest with you — I had been teetering on the edge of vegetarianism and this movie totally pushed me off into full-fledged veg. Morals aside, because i think people get caught up in the moral spectrum since, sadly, it has so many religious and political implications — the fact is this: we do have the power to vote. Did you see LovINmytummy's post the other day? She picked up organic strawberries from WalMart! From Walmart! The thing is that a lot of us don't know we're voting, or what we're voting for. The preponderance of ignorance out there is stunning. i think that's the first and largest obstacle. if you're curious in reading my review of Food Inc., it's here:http://www.feedmeimcranky.com/?p=1245

    Have a wonderful rest of your weekend!

  • Heather July 11, 2009, 6:00 pm

    Great review, Caitlin! I'm going to see it sometime this week. While I already know most of what's in the movie (judging by reviews), I think it's an important message that needs to be reiterated to get it ingrained in people's minds that they should be in control of the food they eat, NOT the government. It's a really screwed up cycle. I'm glad you gave us a personal review. Have you seen "Earthlings"? You can watch it for free on Google Video if you look for it – I highly recommend it.

  • Ellie July 11, 2009, 6:13 pm

    While I agree with many of your points, I cannot agree with you about the issue of organic food. Clearly organic food is more environmentally friendly, as well as healthier for our bodies, but if the entire agricultural industry switched to organic farming, 2/3 of the world would starve. Organic farming simply is not productive enough to feed the worlds population. That being said, if more people bought organic, then companies would most likely do research to improve the efficiency of organic farming. As with all issues, there are pros and cons of organic. Awesome post though- I'm so glad you gave us YOUR opinion rather than just a summary!

  • Natalie M. July 11, 2009, 6:43 pm

    Great post Cailin… I agree with most of what you said.. corrupt food practices and just wanting to lead a healthier life is why I became a vegetarian… 6 months and counting.. pretty damn proud!

    I think I'm going to check out Food Inc. next week… after reading In Defense of Food I was floored I'm pretty sure this flick will elicit the same response.

  • Natalie M. July 11, 2009, 6:44 pm

    Whoops.. Sorry I left out the T.. this is why proofreading is importante!

  • d.a.r. July 11, 2009, 8:21 pm

    I really enjoyed your review of this. I think this film raises some critical issues however. What about those of us (I'd wager at least 90% of Americans) who cannot afford to buy locally/organic? What about the fact that organic farming is incredibly inefficient/expensive and if we all moved to purely organic foods, most of the world would starve to death?

    Unfortunately, we can't blame this situation purely on the government. Most Americans want and need affordable food; the processed stuff is cheaper. It's a vicious cycle. And unlike Big Tobacco, food doesn't have the luxury of being a "vice". We ask for freedoms as Americans, and unfortunately, with those freedoms come a lot of tied hands in being unable to regulate much of these industries.

    I also find it incredibly interesting that this isn't hitting all of the theaters throughout the country–it is only targeting more affluent areas in which consumers are likely already buying/eating organic and locally grown. Preaching to the choir, if you will. I think for this movie to have more of an impact, it would have to hit the masses and it doesn't seem to be doing that. It's quite unfortunate.

    I really hope this didn't come off as critical of you!! I completely didn't mean it that way. Just saying that there are still a lot of gaps and still not enough answers or solutions.

  • Erin July 11, 2009, 10:13 pm

    Good review Caitlin.

    I have to say though, Food Inc is a bit late to the party. This info has been out there for AGES. And I'm afraid this movie is only appealing to the select, not the masses.

    I've been an ethical eater for several years. I know the data, the science, the policy, the marketing, etc.

    After years of practicing grassroots AND political involvement in hot issues, I firmly know and firmly believe that the ONLY way things will change in this country is through a VERY hardcore concerted grassroots effort like we saw in the Obama primary campaign, or through a moderate grassroots movement coupled with massive lobbying in Congress to actually get farming equity/sustainability and animal rights laws on the books.

    Until such a time as it is regulated or the consumer demand is forceful enough, NOTHING will change.

    That is a fact. It is naive to believe otherwise. I have invested years of my life in researching this cause, and I hold it very near and dear to my heart.

    I write this as a call to the movement for all the food bloggers. Please pay attention and spread the message!!!

  • Erin July 11, 2009, 10:18 pm

    And to d.a.r. commenter, the government can ABSOLUTELY regulate these industries. Aboslutely. It just takes a majority vote in Congress to pass the legislation. The problem is, BIG Ag and BIG PIG have far too much lobbying power at the moment.

    But please don't spread false policy info.

    And please get familiar with food policy internationally in developed countries. We are completely spoiled as Americans regarding the % of our gross income we spend on food.

    Europeans spend nearly 1/3 of their incomes on food. We don't come even close to that amount.

    Food ISN'T cheap. Gov't subsidies for BIG Ag and BIG PIG artificially deflate food prices to the point that contract farmers for these industries are living BELOW the poverty line.

    Please please get more informed.

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point July 12, 2009, 3:43 am

    DAR – no i completely agree with you. the cost of organic farming is address in the film. as i mentioned, it would not make a difference in OUR budget (we would just cut from other places) to buy organic. i didnt say everyone should! buy honestly i think a lot of people could if they wanted to, they would just need to re-assess their budget. people waste a lot of money on a lot of shit!

    also, i release the entire world cannot switch to organic farming, but if we all switched to vegetarianism, it would be a LOT easier to feed the planet. growing a cow "costs" more environmentally than growing wheat.

    erin – im not really sure how i'm spreading "false policy info."

  • Caitlin at Healthy Tipping Point July 12, 2009, 3:44 am

    erin – oh you were responding to DAR, nevermind. LOL

  • Oh She Glows July 12, 2009, 9:36 am

    Thank you a illion times over for this review- so very powerful. I can't wait to see this movie.
    The reason why I went vegan was for all of the reasons you mentioned above, in addition to the fact that meat-less eaters made a huge impact on the environment by reducing our carbon footprint! It is much better for the environment to go meat free than to stop driving a car for the rest of you life! How crazy is that!?
    I loved your review and thank you for your honesty!
    Just curious- did the movie talk at all about how foods labeled as organic and free-range actually aren't that great either? Sure they are an improvement, but I read that many of them are no healthier or the animals aren't treated MUCH better vs. the non organic counterparts. I think the free roam regulations need to come a LONG way yet.

  • Kori (All Things B.) July 12, 2009, 9:45 am

    Hey Caitlin! Thanks for your thoughtful review. Unfortunately the movie isn't playing anywhere near me and it doesn't look to be anytime soon šŸ™ in fact, I've heard that many mainstream theaters (AMC, Cinemark and the like) had initially showed the film to packed houses, but for some reason "pulled the plug" just a couple days after… Big business' reach is far and wide… I myself currently eat meat, but have had long periods of vegetarianism throughout the last 5yrs. I'm leaning back toward the no-meat side because this movie and subsequent conversation reminds me of why I stopped in the first place. If you haven't already, you should pick up Pamela Rice's book "101 Reasons I'm a Vegetarian." Many of the points made in the movie are discussed in detail in her book and it sounds like you're in a place to really value her insights.

    I wanted to comment on the idea that organic farming in inefficent/expensive. Of course this is true on the whole, but the reason it seems so is that as americans we demand not just cheap, but abundant. If we would all just make a choice to eat higher quality and less of it, we wouldn't need these vast amounts of food to be 'satisfied.' Its a problem of priorities and always will be. Either you value what you feed yourself and your family and you're willing to pay more for it or you're resigned to settle for lower quality and unethically mass produced items. The bottom line is that the collective 'we' has been all but comotose in recent years about where our food comes from and its time to wake up and realize that its gotten bad and is getting worse the longer we stay complacent and silent. Americans spend a ridiculously small amount of our income on food compared to other countries that seem to 'get it.' I just hope that the movie makes it into wider release and is able to further the debate.

  • Barbara July 12, 2009, 10:30 am

    Great review Caitlin!

    I saw the movie with 8 friends yesterday. I was pissed that only 1 theatre was showing it in Austin..come on!

    I walked away feeling pissed off at our Government, SHOCKED at the treatment of animals and workers at these farms and SAD for the few good honest HARD WORKING farmers out there.

    We might as well be computers…the disconnect between humans and their food is just immense. I always try to buy organic and only eat fish/chicken but will purchase free range from here on out.

    How can our government be so "toothless"? How did we get to this place? Ignorance is not bliss and my eyes are wide open!

    B

  • Becky July 12, 2009, 1:02 pm

    Hi Caitlin.

    I'm a long-time "lurker"/first-time commenter. Thanks for this review; I really want to see this movie, and your review peaked my interest even more!

    I am not a vegetarian, but I am hoping that I can gear my purchases to organic/humanely treated animals. I did want to address some of the comments that say they "can't believe" the hypocrisy of people who love pets/eat mass produced meat. I believe that there are lots of issues involved with this, but one important thing to remember is the class divide in this country.

    I grew up in a working class family/environment, and most everyone I grew up with (including family) is very unaware of these issues. We don't know we're voting with our money. We don't know the horrible conditions. We definitely don't know that the food industry is "playing" us, and we believe in the FDA. Why? In my opinion, it's because that is what Those In Power want us to believe/know. That way, the poorer people can eat all the crap because they don't know any better.

    It's not only a matter of willful ignorance (though I agree that that definitely does exist). Many lower-income people (which is really the majority of the people) simply do not have the time or energy to investigate all this for themselves. Working a couple jobs, raising children, and keeping everyday tasks running take up all of their energy. So while they do contribute to the problem, I also just want to make sure we remember that our own social inequalities contribute to this "hypocrisy."

    And it would be great if we could all only buy products we want to "vote" for. But for many families, this is simply not realistic. It's interesting that it is in the best interest of Those In Power in this industry to keep the poor poor. This goes so much deeper than just food!

  • April July 12, 2009, 1:39 pm

    Hi Caitlin!

    I'm friends with both Meghann and Kelly and have been following Meghann's blog for awhile, so have read about you a few times! I finally found your blog site and started reading… LOVE this post. Food Inc will definitely not be shown in Pcola although it should be. Your review has really made me consider vegetarianism. Never even thought about it before; actually, lived in CO next to the biggest meat-packing plant in the state. Rich Farmers, politics, water issues, big business, and fresh steak were just a way of life. No health concerns, no morals or ethics were ever involved. Even only recently have I started eating healthier at all, and I am now seriously, seriously considering going vegetarian (except for milk šŸ™‚

    Thanks for your honesty!

  • kilax July 13, 2009, 6:02 am

    Thanks for the great review! It sounds like this movie confirms a lot of the reasons I became vegetarian years ago. I am not sure if I can go watch it though. I have a hard time stomaching all of those facts.

  • Caitlin July 13, 2009, 8:19 am

    Hey, Caitlin!
    I've never commented on a blog before, but this post really rang true for me on so many levels. Because of personal revelations about the conditions of farmed animals, whether slaughtered or not, I recently took the vegan plunge after 11 years of being veg. But I completely identify with you about the finances and the ethics not always working together. It often takes money to be a moral consumer, and as a college kid, I don't always have a lot of that. Thank goodness for rice and beans, right? That way I can occassionally afford fair-trade organic chocolate and coffee! As always, it was a pleasure reading! Thanks for the review.

  • seesaraheat July 13, 2009, 12:33 pm

    I'm so glad I read this, it has given me a lot to think about. I would like to see the movie too.

    Thanks!

  • Karen July 17, 2009, 8:47 am

    I think everything you said here was very well presented – so much so that I linked to your review on my blog post about Food Inc. because I couldn't have said it better myself!

    I saw the movie a month ago when it first came out in NYC and have been going back and forth ever since about my own meat consumption. I finally made the decision yesterday to go lacto-ovo vegetarian!

  • DeAnna July 20, 2009, 11:34 am

    When I first heard about this movie I didn't think it would be playing anywhere near me but once I read your review I thought I should find out. It was very close to me and my husband and I watched it this past weekend. I have been eating organically for about 3 months now and after seeing this film I will never eat the "other" way again. I wish more people would go see it and make choices that are healthy for their families. I'm afraid the only people going to see it are already believers. That's too bad.

    Thanks for the review, it convinced me to seek out the film and seeing it honestly changed my life (and my husband's).

  • fitforfree July 27, 2009, 12:38 pm

    Amazing review — I'm so glad you shared your opinion. I haven't seen this movie but know it'll only make me stronger in my vegetarianism. Thanks for being so honest!!

  • Angie Eats Peace August 11, 2009, 9:33 am

    I hope you dont mind, but I linked this post in my latest entry.
    I FINALLY saw Food Inc. this past weekend, and my latest post was my thoughts on it.

  • jason May 31, 2015, 8:52 am

    I jus went out and bought 7lbs of beef itll probably take 3 days to eat, dont worry, for two-Three of you dont eat meat ill make up for it šŸ˜€

  • Thomas August 3, 2015, 4:04 am

    This movie leaves you with more questions than answers and a feeling that there is so much more to this discussion that could not be covered in a single film, but that’s not such a bad thing either.

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