Table of Contents
Modern food industry is well-organized and mechanized, having high-tech hardware and scientific base, the owners of which will do everything to promote their products at any price. This thought runs through Food Inc. documentary directed by Robert Kenner. Naturally, it also discusses the topics of corruption and human relationships, as well as personal responsibility. Steve Jobs once said about the TV that there is no conspiracy; it is just about a broadcaster meeting the demand, and the same is with the food industry (Lindenfeld 380). Corporations simply meet the demand of people who prefer not to think about what a chicken has gone through to become the meat on the plate. In addition, in nature, a predator does not eat an infected or sick animal (Weber 64). However, people eagerly eat a chicken that can barely make a couple of steps. Unfortunately, no one seems to agree with the saying “I am what I eat”. As a result, food corporations use the unwillingness of people to think about healthy diet and their indifference to what they eat. Food industry “serves” people with low-quality food simply to earn as much money as they can.
At first, before watching the movie when reading a description, there is an impression that it will only tell some new things about food. Unexpectedly, it also gives information relating to very different spheres and areas, for example, it gives the answer (or at least a significant clue) to the question of human relationships and their change, as well as some issues that concerns modern society, such as making profit from everything that can generate a profit. One of the main arguments is that in the world of corporations only profit is valued. Food industry is also a corporation, perhaps, more powerful than oil, gas, machine and chemical ones since a human being cannot survive without food (Weber 203). Clearly, humanity can survive without food for a much shorter period than without fuel, light or other comforts. In the documentary, one of the most important interviews taken to support this argument was with Richard Lobb, who literally boasts that they have earned tremendous income (Food, Inc.).
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To support the thought of profit importance, both interviewees and narrator frequently use the phrase that everything is very mechanized, so all the fowls at the farm should be almost the same size, pointing to the fact that fowls, vegetables, fruits, cattle are the units of a giant food machine (Lindenfeld 384). Therefore, they should act accordingly and only grow in size in order to meet the increasing demand for profit of their owners.
“I think this is one of the most important battles for the rights of consumers - the struggle for the right to know what is in their food and how it was grown,” says Stephen R. Pennel in his interview, and his words make sense (Food, Inc.). Corporations continue to make huge profit on food since few people are now interested in such kind of battle, and most people believe that there is nothing to do to change the situation.
“At the very moment one seizes the growth, the attitude towards the customer changes, the attitude to production and business changes, attitude towards everything that is most important changes,” – this is what David Ranyok, one of the characters of the film, says (Food, Inc.). He fattens pigs to slaughter, but he lets them enjoy the grass and fresh air, friendly communicating with them. This can be compared to the housing of animals in distress and dirt that large corporations practice, saying that “it is just food”. Ranyok is a producer of food, and he believes that such an attitude is right, as opposed to the benefit-oriented attitude of corporations.
Further analyzing the documentary, one cannot underestimate the importance of interviews, which, actually, provide the main thought and main argument of the movie. However, the use of tense music and the pictures of greenhouses, modern farm and the conditions in which animals live only reinforces the impression of words. Additionally, it makes the argument more convincing since it visualize the emotion that people should feel during a particular part of the film. For example, eco farm of David Ranyok was shown as a peaceful part of paradise: birds were singing, wind was waving the grass, and animals seemed very happy. In contrast, modern a chicken farm was shown as dark premises with the crowd of chicken that cannot make a single step because they are overweight.
Unfortunately, the film hardly discloses the subject of chemicals in products and how exactly their use is harmful. The film is limited to only some hints, such as “… although they look like tomatoes, they have very unmediated relation to tomatoes, it is like a picture of tomatoes” (Food, Inc.). Not surprisingly, the research findings prove that the use of chemicals can bring even more profit to the food industry (Linderfeld 379). The use of pesticides makes plants able to withstand insects’ attacks, natural disasters (such as snow, wind, etc.) and makes it grow even faster. Therefore, they can get richer harvest and sell more food. The problem is that the influence of food that contains genetically modified organisms (GMO) and food grown with the use of pesticides is not determined yet (Weber 203). Therefore, they again sell low-quality products to people in order to earn a fortune.
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The film shows only general approach and conveys particular attitudes. The entire film is the confrontation of two approaches: 1) corporate approach that perceives animals as the food and consumers as a continuous flow of profit; 2) the approach of some revolutionaries that emphasizes the respect for both the customers and the products (Linderfeld 385). Giving two opinions instead of one and contrasting them makes the argument convincing. Additionally, basing on the research by Linderfeld, the information provided in the movie seems rather fair. The only flaw is the already mentioned lack of chemicals-related data.