Film aims to expose dangers in U.S. food industry
Tue Jun 9, 2009 7:09pm EDT
By Christine Kearney
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Bigger-breasted chickens fattened artificially. New strains of deadly E. coli bacteria. A food supply controlled by a handful of corporations.
The documentary "Food, Inc." opens in the United States on Friday and portrays these purported dangers and changes in the U.S. food industry, asserting harmful effects on public health, the environment, and worker and animal rights.
Big corporations such as biotech food producer Monsanto Co., U.S. meat companies Tyson Food Inc. and Smithfield Foods, and poultry producer Perdue Farms all declined to be interviewed for the film.
But the industry has not stood silent. Trade associations across the $142-billion-a-year U.S. meat industry have banded together to counter the claims. Led by the American Meat Institute, they have created a number of websites, including one called SafeFoodInc.com.
"Each sector of the industry that's named is doing its part to counter a lot of the misinformation in the movie," said Lisa Katic, a dietitian and consultant with an unnamed coalition of trade associations representing the food industry.
"The film pulls back the curtain on the way food is produced," said Michael Pollan, who appears in the film and is the best-selling author of several books including "In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto.
"Products with farm labels attached -- this stuff comes from factories now," he said. Read More
Food Inc. is a new film being released this week that attacks US agriculture. Led by Michael Pollan, who has previously admitted that he needs to sensationalize stories about agriculture to make them sound good, is one of the people that helped make this film. Us as producers need to remind people that this is not a documentary. It is based on opinion and biases towards family farmers, particularly those that raise livestock. Fortunately there is a website that is trying to set the record straight. If you get the chance to talk to consumers, direct them towards www.safefoodinc.com.