Last night, at the advanced screening of Food, Inc., the audience broke into cheers and boos to punctuate the filmmakers’ more salient points about what has gone wrong with our food system. Sure, the documentary was preaching to the converted; it was a Viva los Farmers Markets! crowd at the E Street Cinema. But some revelations were pretty stomach-churning.

Consider these nuggets:

  • Most of what we buy in the supermarket these days – even the meat, poultry and some farmed fish – was produced with genetically modified corn or soybeans.
  • The Food and Drug Administration has already approved the sale of meat and milk from cloned livestock, despite the clamor for more scientific studies. It doesn’t have to be labeled. So, you wouldn’t even know it if you were sloshing down your (GMO) cornflakes right now with milk from a cow clone.
  • Meat, soft drinks and an array of obesity-causing snacks and fast foods are cheaper than vegetables, thanks to decades of nonsensical (to anybody but a small number of large corporations) government policies.
  • An estimated 76 million Americans are sickened, 325,000 are hospitalized and 5,000 die each year from food-borne illnesses, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you’ve already enjoyed a steady diet of books in this genre – Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food NationMichael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s DilemmaPaul Robert’s The End of Food, to name a few – you probably already know all this. Though the hidden camera shots inside slaughterhouses speak a thousand words, as the saying goes. 

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