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Food, Inc': a Summary and Critical Analysis

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Introduction

This film “Food, Inc”depicts the changes in the way people eat; choose their foods and the food systems in general. There are a lot of gray areas between consumers and food sources. Corporations are able to hide the truth about the quality and ethical standards that are held in food production. Most members who are involved in the food system are being negatively affected by changes in the industry. Consumers and producers must be protected from these wrongdoings and word must spread for consumers to be able to fight for what they deserve.

Summary of the Film

A lot has changed in the food industry in the last fifty years compared to 10,000 years (Kenner 2008). Many supermarkets and food stores in America are filled with posters of green farms and farmer-produced fresh products which are just an illusion. The imagery is deceiving, given that the safety of nearly all food products in the supermarkets is questionable. There is no point that product goes out of season in supermarkets across America. Production is done in many areas worldwide, and some like tomatoes are harvested green and ripened using ethylene gas.

Consumers are misled by the food options they are given. In the meat and poultry aisle, a lot takes place that causes doubts to the consumers. The meat is boneless and more insight into the matter shows the abuse of both the animals and the workers. The entry of multinational corporations in the food market has made a huge wedge between food sources and the consumers (Kenner 2008). These corporations are powerful, business-oriented, and control what consumers need to know and say about their products. Also, they have control over how consumers eat and prepare the food.

The growth of these companies and lifestyle changes among consumers has led to a rapid increase in fast food stores. Revolutions in the food industry come with unintended consequences such as the dominance of the market by the corporation. Also, farmers losing control of how they produce crops and acquire raw materials and the health hazards to the consumers. For example, Tyson, which is the largest meat packaging company, has taken over the production and slaughtering as well (Kenner 2008). Such dominance has led to scientific advancement, which has led to the development of genes which can speed up growth and flesh of the animals while shortening the maturity time.

It is not different in the corn sector. The government controls the production while it transports the corn for various uses. The uses of corn are extensive; therefore, the use of gene modification was necessary to meet the demand. With GMOs they mature faster, it is cheaper, and there is no need for preservation. Following a shortage of grass, some producers began feeding their animals with corn including cattle (to fatten them) and fish. However, it has led to the emergence of unintended consequences such as the mutant strain E.coli which is fatal (Kenner 2008). The strain can not only be found in meats but also green vegetables. However, multinational corporations have managed to control the legal systems and authority. Some heads challenge bills and motions on labeling of GMO products, the jurisdiction of FDA, nutrition content, and origin of produce. The changes in the food systems have led to an increase in fast food stores which provide cheaper foods.

With the busy schedules of the consumers and low finances, they opt to get fast foods and ready to drink beverages as opposed to making a healthy meal at home (Kenner 2008). It has led to an increase in lifestyle-related diseases like Type 2 diabetes that is affecting both adults and children. Sanitation is also a concerning issue because of cross-contamination while handling food products.

Also featured are the legal battles of the use of GMOs to original seeds. In the case of Monsanto and Moe. Farmers, the farmers would want control to choose the type of seeds they use, but they are faced with unbeatable lawsuits which are expensive and corrupted and they end up losing or with cut deals. In conclusion, the government is responsible for imposing policies and spreading awareness in attempts to protect the producers and consumers.

Analysis of Consumer Downfall

Foodways and food systems have evolved with benefits and unintended challenges coming up. Foodways are characterized by food transition, which has two significant steps. There is the quantitative step where the caloric intake increases in food products and the diet transition step (qualitative) where the diet structure changes after achieving caloric saturation (Guyomard et al. 2012). For example, there is a decrease in the consumption of vegetables and cereals and the increase in sugars, fats, and animal products. The changes in diet composition translate to low macronutrient weight. It means that the consumers get substandard quality products. Among western European countries, the industrial and agricultural revolution led to the decrease in the intake of potatoes and cereals while increasing the use of oils, fats, sugars, fruits, animal products, and vegetables.

There are food wastes and losses during production and distribution of food. Food production has to be shared between animals and humans (Guyomard et al. 2012: Kenner 2008). For example, in America, corn is widely used as an animal feed and what reaches the supermarkets for human consumption is highly refined and processed. The losses incurred correspond to both the market and nonmarket costs. Through efficient pest and disease control, improving storage infrastructure marketing and transport, such losses can be prevented (Guyomard et al. 2012). However, controlling the losses in the distribution change is difficult because it requires modifications of regulations which is met with resistance from the responsible authorities.

With the revolution taking place in the food systems, consumers become victims, because they have to accept the regulations and standards imposed by regulatory bodies to the processors and retailers. Furthermore, consumers need to adjust to the changes taking place in the food industry concerning the means of production, marketing information of labels, and nutrition facts. It will help in bridging the technological gap between consumers and food production. The technological gap is continuously widening because of the growth in the food production chain and increase in consumption areas and the duration of output, maturity, and shelf life. It takes the consumers to question the integrity of the products.

The westernization of food systems affects not only human beings but also the environment and natural resources. Westernization involves the evolution of agricultural systems, uses of food and land and the eating patterns which strains the ecosystem. In turn, the massive food production has led to the usage of high amounts of water, pesticides fertilizers hence opening ways for scientific studies.Without a proper knowledge of what is used in food production, there are environmental health repercussions. A pesticide known as Durbin has been used in Banana production in the past, and was later discovered as being toxic (Banana Split, 2002). Introduction of pesticides and GMOs in the market has brought about ethical and legal issues with controversial areas such as labeling and safety of such products.

Changes in lifestyles and cost of living have led people to turn to fast foods which are relatively cheaper and readily available. When wage increases, so does the cost of living and unfortunately “income is obviously related to diet”(Winson, Sumner and Koc̦ 2017). This has exposed consumers to a social stratification in which lower level citizens are more exposed to obesity and diet-related illnesses. Moreover, the cost of managing these diseases is high straining on the family resources as well (Guyomard et al. 2012: Kenner 2008). Therefore, regardless of the dangers involved, consumers make unhealthy diet choices because most of the healthy food options are very expensive and because they do not know where it is coming from.

According to FAO (2018), the food system is affected by the policies and programs run by national government agencies and departments. These departments and agencies are involved from production to the consumer level. Following the increase in influential, powerful multinational companies in the food market, governments need to put the consumers’ interest and safety as a top priority (Kenner 2008). This calls for policies that target the consumers’ behavior, favorable taxation, adequate budgeting, education, and improvement of working standards and employment.

References

  1. Banana Split. (2002). Directed by K. Saxberg and R. Harpelle
  2. Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO).2018. “Strengthening sector policies for better food security and nutrition results/ food systems for healthy diets.’ Food and Agricultural Organization. Retrieved September 25, 2019, http://www.fao.org/3/CA2797EN/ca2797en.pdf
  3. Guyomard, Hervé, Béatrice Darcy-Vrillon, Catherine Esnouf, Michèle Marin, Marie Russel, and Marion Guillou. 2012. “Eating patterns and food systems: critical knowledge requirements for policy design and implementation.’ Agriculture & Food Security, 1(1), 13.
  4. Kenner, Robert. 2008.USA Food Inc.2008 Documentary. Magnolia Pictures.
  5. Winson, Anthony, Jennifer M. Sumner, and Mustafa Koc̦. 2017. Critical Perspectives In Food
  6. Studies. 2nd ed. Don Mills, Ontario, Canada: Oxford University Press.

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Food, Inc’: A Summary and Critical Analysis. (2022, April 08). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 20, 2022, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/food-inc-a-summary-and-critical-analysis/
“Food, Inc’: A Summary and Critical Analysis.” GradesFixer, 08 Apr. 2022, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/food-inc-a-summary-and-critical-analysis/
Food, Inc’: A Summary and Critical Analysis. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/food-inc-a-summary-and-critical-analysis/> [Accessed 20 May 2022].
Food, Inc’: A Summary and Critical Analysis [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2022 Apr 08 [cited 2022 May 20]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/food-inc-a-summary-and-critical-analysis/
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