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Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024
The Observer

Food, Inc.': Do you really know what you are eating?



For my Literature and Ecology class, we watched a movie about the problem with mass food production that made me thankful for the fact that I am a vegetarian. "Food, Inc." was one of those films that causes people to stop eating meat because of the graphic images of animals being led to the slaughterhouse. As a documentary, the film succeeds in teaching its audience about the hidden truth behind food production. With angles from both pro-mass production farmers as well as organic farmers, the documentary stays relatively unbiased, although I have trouble believing anyone could watch it without being disgusted and permanently scarred.  Personally, I could not watch as they showed chickens getting their heads chopped off. I think I may have even uttered an audible whimper hearing the sound effects.

You are probably thinking this is an overreaction from someone who is already biased being a vegetarian, but here's my "ND Confession" - I eat meat. Granted, I have been a "vegetarian" my whole life not because I want to save animals or because I think it's healthier, but because I simply cannot stand the texture of meat. The thought of having a hamburger or steak dripping in blood anywhere near my mouth makes me want to vomit. However, when it comes to disgusting, salty and processed meats, I can't help but give in. I refuse to eat pizza unless it is covered in pepperoni, breakfast is not complete without sausage patties and then there's bacon. ... Do I even need an excuse for bacon? I just cannot get enough. So, seeing the cow corpses hanging upside down, being violated by the hands of desensitized workers in the documentary, does have an impact on me, regardless of my mainly meatless diet.  

Other than showing horrifying scenes of slaughters that make me rethink (only for a second) my partial meat-eating, "Food, Inc." also addresses the link between mass food production and obesity. Although ending without an answer, the documentary tries to find out why Whole Foods earned the name "Whole Paycheck" while McDonald's manages to sell a full meal for, like, $1.50. Families in the United States are especially notorious for wanting food fast and cheap, disregarding the negative repercussions. The fact that McDonald's is able to produce so much food at such a low price only feeds into the problems of obesity and malnutrition, especially among the lower class. Granted, fast food chains like McDonald's have been attempting to provide healthier options, but the fact that their menu still has items like the Double Quarter Pounder and Big Macs with more calories than a person should eat in a day, much less a single meal, cancels those efforts, in my opinion. Having these items at such low prices makes large families with financial problems skip the fresh broccoli and avocados from the farmer's market and get their dinner from the Dollar Menu, contributing to our country's massive weight gain.  

Whether you are an organic-only vegan or a loyal McDonald's customer, this documentary is worth watching to learn about an underestimated worldwide issue. Especially on a college campus where we blindly eat dining hall food and Taco Bell that we pay for with seemingly fake money, aka Flex Points, it is easy to forget about where our food comes from and how much we spend on it. Aside from the grotesque images of chickens and cows headed to their bloody deaths, "Food, Inc." is a worthwhile watch. Just make sure you close your eyes when they show the chicken heads being removed, and don't blame me if you decide to never eat meat again.   

Contact Maddie Daly at