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Eng 099 - Food Safety

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Quynh Chi Nguyen Le

Keisha Cosand


November 29th, 2016

Food Safety

        In this day and age, people in the US are having more food to eat than they were in the past. However, as food is increasing quickly thanks to new technologies, diseases that are related to food are also increasing rapidly. Nowadays, more deaths are caused by eating than smoking. In order to make this problem clearer and raise people's awareness, filmmaker Robert Kenner directed a documentary called "Food Inc.". The film examines corporate farming in the United States and concludes that agribusiness produces food that is unhealthy, in a way that is environmentally harmful and abusive to both animals and employees. I completely agree with this idea. In my opinion, big companies in the food industry are responsible for everyone's safety.

        Food Inc. is a production of Participant Media and River Road Entertainment, distributed by Magnolia Picture. The documentary film first examines the industrial production of meat, such as pork, beef, and especially chicken. Later, it looks at the production of grains and vegetable. Both of these industries are considered economically and environmentally unhealthy. Finally, the film also looks at the heavy use of petroleum-based chemicals, which contain E.coli. Furthermore, it also talks about the promotion of unhealthy food consumption habit of the American public. Food Inc. is a powerful indictment of industrial food production, revealing truths about what we eat, how it is produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here.

        One of the factors that "Food Inc." mentions in the film is that farmers are forced into following big companies' rules. The filmmaker states that in the 1970s, twenty-five percent of the beef marker was controlled by top five beef packers. Nowadays, the top four control more than eighty percent. They are The Monsanto, Tyson, Perdue, and Smithfield, whose Food Inc.'s producers try to interview, but they all refuse to tell their stories. According to Vince Edwards, a Kentucky chicken raiser who works for Tyson, it is more convenient to use chemical products and force the chicken to grow faster. He said, "The chicken industry came in here and it helped the whole community out, and it is all science. They got it figured out...If you could grow a chicken in forty-nine days, why would you want one you have to grow in three months".  However, they manage interview Maryland chicken farmer Carole Morrison, who works with Perdue. Being so disgusted with the way Perdue forces her to raise animals, she shows the filmmakers what Perdue are doing to the nation's chickens despite the risk of ending the contract with Perdue. Inside the farmhouse, there are thousands of chicken crammed together. When one of them is sick, it affects many other chickens around it and also gets them sick. However, when the producer come to take the chickens away, they only leave behind the dead ones and pay no attention to see if there are any ill ones or if the chickens are safe enough to eat. After Morrison's reveal, she loses her contract with Perdue and is left with the only option of selling the farmhouse, which can tell us how sloppy Perdue works with their products as well as their farmers.

        Everybody in this world knows that fast food is bad for our bodies. However, as time passes, the amount of fast food's consumption increases rapidly. The first and foremost reason why we should not consume too much fast food is that it can cause obesity. According to Muntel, 33.8 percent of the U.S. population, including 19 percent of children and adolescents, is affected by obesity. She said that an average person should only consume about 1,500 to 1,800 calories a day, but only one meal in any fast food restaurant contains over 1,500 calories. However, obesity is not the only thing we should worry about. Many researchs have shown that eating too much fast food can increase one's cholesterol level, which can affect badly on our hearts. Finally, an average person needs to consume a sufficient amount of proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, etc. in order to feed the body and to stay healthy. Among these, only carbohydrates can be found in most of the fast food products while the rest are either absent or almost close to none. However, when fast food is lack of main nutrition needed for our bodies, it contains too much sugar, fat, and sodium, which we only need a small amount of. According to Pietrangelo and Carey, sugar and fat have no nutritional value but are high in calories. She also states that too much sodium can cause high blood pressure and enlarge heart muscle. Despite causing many bad effects, fast food is considered to be one of the most popular people choose for their meal. The reason for this is because fast food is a lot cheaper than vegetable. The filmmakers interview a large, working family who is struggling with their everyday life. They have to choose between feeding their children healthy food or paying the father's diabetes medical fees. From them, we learn that " A McDonald's double cheeseburger, which is made from cows feed government subsidized and E.coli prone corn diets, is much cheaper than a head of broccoli". Therefore, in order to maintain the father's medicine as well as the food needed for their children, the parents have no choice but to feed them with this unhealthy food despite knowing its dangers.

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