Monday, June 28, 2010

Food Inc. aka Doom & Gloom

I checked this out last night on my free tickets from Animals Australia (thanks!) and whilst there were lots of things I already knew I still found it fascinating viewing.

It was not all meat and slaughterhouses (which really would have been masochistic self flagellation for me to go watch for 1.5hrs) but had enough to make my non-veg brother realise it really isn't like the happy mini farm we grew up on anymore. And to make my already clued up vegetarian friend discover things like downer cows.

The stuff I didn't already know was equally heartbreaking:
  • the poor minorities who spend so much on drugs to manage their diabetes they can't actually afford food that doesn't cause diabetes,
  • Veggie Libel Laws mean that you can be sued by a multinational megacorporation for calling for an enquiry or criticising their food product, even if it kills a child, but the 'Cheeseburger' Bill means consumers cannot sue producers for health problems
  • that just a handful of megacorporations literally control all the food in America, and that in so many cases the industry IS the government
  • that the meat processors have buses set up specifically to bring illegal workers from Mexico to their processing plants,  
  • that Monsanto has patented GMO soybeans meaning farmers are no longer allowed to save seeds to plant again next year - they must continue to purchase from Monsanto or they get sued for infringing copyright
  • the poor farmers who get sued by Monsanto because some of Monsanto's GMO plants have contaminated their crops and they didn't pay Monsanto for them, 
  • the government subsidies that ensure fast food is cheaper than fresh food, 
  • that 70% of food in the US contains GMO ingredients and it does not have to be labelled, 
  • that cloned meat doesn't have to be labelled, 
  • that FDA and USDA aren't allowed to shut down any meat processors no matter how many times they produce contaminated meat that kill people, 
  • 5 billion other horrible things that display industries' contempt for consumers

When we walked home afterwards there were comments that thankfully it's not like that in Australia. No, I don't think it is. So should we continue mindlessly buying whatever is cheapest or yummiest on the shelf? Cos it's not our problem?

I just hope that the American scenario gives people the foresight to make sure Australia doesn't follow down the very same path - why wouldn't it when it's still the consumer dollar that votes?

Our food producers are huge and already have the power to lobby the government. We have Monsanto in Australia. Our highly processed products such as canola oil don't have to be labelled as GMO. And just like America, we want more for less. We want cheap food, fast. We want to have meat at every meal, and while we say we care, as a majority we don't want to pay even a dollar more for something that treats animals, people, or the environment better. Yep, I would go so far as to say that what happens in America IS our problem.

Edit: I hear you are supposed to finish up negative posts with something positive. So in good news, I had Lord of the Fries with cheese and gravy on the way to see that movie and it was divine.

No comments:

Post a Comment