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Food quality

2009-10-04 22:51:19.497696+00 by Dan Lyke 4 comments

My dad called last night and said "We're watching the credits of Food Inc., you have to go see this movie". We missed it when it was in the theater out here, although it looks like it's playing in the city, but I've no idea when we're next going to have time for a movie on our schedules, so I guess we'll end up catching it on DVD, but...

This New York Times article on ground beef is making the rounds (thanks, Lyn!). We spend a lot on food. Its easy to wonder why, and wonder why we put so much effort into food prep. This is why: We don't know what's going into our food, and we, collectively, need to start being more aware of it, because the disincentives to risking our health with bad food practices don't nearly outweigh the incentives of food companies taking risks and hiding and passing those risks on to us consumers.

Come to think of it, this has a lot in common with the financial bubble/scam that's been perpetrated on us: By slicing, repackaging and relabeling products, producers are convincing us that those products are better than what they really are, and taking the risk that we've then accepted because we don't know what those products really are as profit for themselves.

[ related topics: Health Movies Food Consumerism and advertising ]

comments in ascending chronological order (reverse):

#Comment Re: made: 2009-10-04 23:27:18.659781+00 by: ebradway

I caught Food, Inc. when it opened in Boulder. It was a good documentary but didn't really present me with much new information. It did encourage me to seek out a good local source of meat. I now buy most of my meat from the bison farmer who sells at the Longmont Farmer's Market. Sure, the simple transaction cost (i.e., the money exchanged between me and the farmer) is about 3X the cost of the mass-produced beef products in the supermarket. But I question the overall costs to me in terms of federal subsidies and impact on my health. Not to mention, this guy's grass-fed, organic bison meat tastes incredible. As for the movie - wait for the DVD unless you really want to want cattle being slaughtered on the big screen.

As for the Libertarian argument of "buyer beware", this is a classic case of the privileged few benefiting at the cost of the underprivileged. The food industry wants us to believe that factory-farming food products are nutritionally equivalent or even better than products from smaller operations (also the main conceit of the "Green Revolution"). They use their financial leverage to manipulate the USDA and FDA.

This has been going on for a while. Remember "Ketchupgate"? The Reagan administration wanted to save $1B on subsidized school lunches by recategorizing ketchup and relish as vegetables rather than condiments. Who would this have benefited? At who's expense?

#Comment Re: made: 2009-10-05 00:44:57.344913+00 by: Chris in Florida

A lot of baggage comes along with mainstream meat and dairy production. Antibiotics, hormones, ect. Where do all these Superbug bacteria evolve from? My Dad was killed by a strain, MRSA, ain't a good way to go. The bottom line is the only thing that counts with these coldblooded assholes. The best defense is knowledge put into practice. Last week on Npr I heard that 75 million people a year are suffering from food-borne illness. There are those who accept this as the cost of doing business. Oh well.......

#Comment Re: made: 2009-10-06 17:34:33.108215+00 by: TC

it will be interesting to see how this plays out as Agriculture is the second most subsidized industry we have and it's geared to making McFood. I'm sure most Flutterbians have read Omnivores Dilemma http://www.amazon.com/Omnivores-Dilemma- Natural-History-Meals/dp/1594200823/ref=tmm_hrd_title_0 and I haven't read but have Righteous Pork Chop http://www.righteousporkchop.com/ in the cue for reading and for you local folks they have a thing at the Ferry building on the 29th http://www.cuesa.org/events/calendar/

#Comment Re: made: 2009-10-08 15:58:36.176126+00 by: andylyke

Yeah - apropos the price differential btwn McFood and the product of the organic grower down the street - the Yugo used to cost way less than a BMW, and the BMW outsold the Yugo. It's a shame that the effects of eating crap food are so masked by time and low expectations and so accepted that the Americans are unwilling to pay the premium for real hamburger vs floor sweepings with filler.

I used to work for Groupe Schneider, and their plant cafeteria in Grenoble measured up to what we think of as high class dining.