by Marion Nestle
Jun 12 2009

Food, Inc. is out at last!

Today is the official release date for Food, Inc., the latest film about our food production system and its discontents.  This one has generated tons of interest, and for good reason (I’ve seen it twice).  For one thing, it is star-studded: Eric Schlosser!  Michael Pollan!  For another, it takes a hard look at the less savory aspects of industrial food production for a purpose: to make you think before you eat.

To that end, the film comes with:

And, not least,

  • Its very own anti-Food Inc. website, a contribution from meat and poultry trade associations eager to provide a point-by-point rebuttal of every scene in the movie.

Here’s my favorite quote from the review in the New York Times:

one of the scariest movies of the year, “Food, Inc.,” [is]an informative, often infuriating activist documentary about the big business of feeding or, more to the political point, force-feeding, Americans all the junk that multinational corporate money can buy. You’ll shudder, shake and just possibly lose your genetically modified lunch.

Go see it and decide for yourself!

  • Anthro

    Oh gosh, I wonder how long it will take to get to Milwaukee? I’ll have to try Chicago as I can’t wait!

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  • I love that the anti- website bases all of its rebuttals on the concept that “the USDA/food pyramid/government supports it, so you know its safe/healthy/moral!”

    How naive a view of the world is needed to assume that the federal government would disregard all financial opportunities and be concerned more about individuals? Just because something is “regulated” doesn’t make it right.

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  • Anthro

    I just spent a good hour or more going over the rebuttal and while they do score a few points (kind of depends on where one is on the “purist” spectrum), by the time they get to wages for meat industry workers they use some very sleazy techniques like averaging the wages and implying that it pays pretty well across the board. They do a pretty pathetic job of supporting the nutritional value of flesh foods as well and when it comes to comparing fast food with store bought food they just completely become muddled and it isn’t even clear what the point is.

    It is fair of them to make the point that organic food is not more nutritious because this IS a widespread myth, but it is also not the only reason that people choose organic.

    It is also fair to discuss the issue of feeding the world without at least some mechanization, but most of what they present is limited self-interest. They don’t even list the groups they represent and I find the question/answer format silly because THEY chose the questions and their is no follow up; yet they pass it off as a debate.

    If the film even gets people to think about shopping a little differently (skip the center aisles) it will have achieved something and may impact the obesity epidemic (something the website doesn’t even mention).

  • Daniel Ithaca, NY

    I’m anxious to go see this! I bet it is very well done.

    re: Anthro
    “It is fair of them to make the point that organic food is not
    more nutritious because this IS a widespread myth, but it is
    also not the only reason that people choose organic.”

    I guess it isn’t a myth if several studies show evidence that Organic foods ARE healthier than their Pesticide & Petroleum-based- fertilizer counterparts (which doesn’t sound so natural or conventional AT ALL).
    *more nutritious,
    *better for the Farm workers,
    *better for all living things–especially those very close/down stream from these farms and
    *better for our environment overall.

  • I recently posted this comment on Facebook: “I really don’t understand how a movie like, The Hangover, can be #1 two weeks in a row when there is a life changing, eye-opening documentary of our food industry playing. Thought provoking. I guess ignorance really is bliss…” Then I received the following response: “You think people really wanna pay to see reality when they go to the movies these days? C’mon, its not too difficult to understand that comedy/violence/sex/drugs will outsell any other movie out there.”

    Sometimes I feel like we are constantly preaching to our own choir. If people aren’t open to learning, how can we affect change?

    Saw the movie twice!!

  • @Kinzie ~ People go to movies for different reasons, but it makes sense that escapism would be a huge one. The good news is that it’s never been easier for people to share their insights w/their peers.
    I think the movie will simmer and be seen in many venues for a while to come.
    The people who go see car chase movies read the posters while they’re waiting in line. The issues are entering the mainstream.
    This article on the White House’s moves towards food policy change is a heartening read:

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