Archive

Posts Tagged ‘食品安全’

Food, Inc.

I have watched the "Food, Inc" today, and then I think how lucky I am. Because I am in the country.

Food, Inc. lifts the veil on our nation’s food industry, exposing how
our nation’s food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations
that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the
livelihood of the
American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. Food,
Inc. reveals surprising and often shocking truths about what we eat, how
it’s produced and who we have become as a nation.

Q&A with Producer/Director Robert Kenner,
Co-Producer/Food Expert Eric Schlosser, Food Expert Michael Pollan and
Producer Elise Pearlstein

How did this
film initially come about?

Kenner: Eric
Schlosser and I had been wanting to do a documentary version of his
book, Fast Food Nation.  And, for one reason or another, it
didn’t happen. By the time Food, Inc. started to come together,
we began talking and realized that all food has become like fast food,
and all food is being created in the same manner as fast food.

How
has fast food changed the food we buy at the supermarket?

Schlosser:
The enormous buying power of the fast food industry helped to transform
the entire food production system of the United States.  So even when
you purchase food at the supermarket, you’re likely to be getting
products that came from factories, feedlots and suppliers that emerged
to serve the fast food chains.

How many years did it
take to do this film and what were the challenges?

Kenner:
From when Eric and I began talking, about 6 or 7 years.  The
film itself about 2 ½ years.  It has taken a lot longer than we expected
because we were denied access to so many places.

Pearlstein:
When Robby brought me into the project, he was adamant about wanting to
hear all sides of the story, but it was nearly impossible to gain
access onto industrial farms and into large food corporations.  They
just would not let us in.  It felt like it would have been easier to
penetrate the Pentagon than to get into a company that makes breakfast
cereal.  The legal challenges on this film were also unique.  We found
it necessary to consult with a first amendment lawyer throughout the
entire filming process.

Who or what influenced your
film?

Kenner: This film was really
influenced by Eric Schlosser and Fast Food Nation, but then as
we were progressing and had actually gotten funding, it became very
influenced as well by Michael Pollan and his book Omnivore’s Dilemma

And then, as we went out into the world, we became really
incredibly influenced by a lot of the farmers we met.

What
was the most surprising thing you learned?

Kenner: As
we set out to find out how our food was made, I think the thing that
really became most shocking is when we were talking to a woman, Barbara
Kowalcyk, who had lost her son to eating a hamburger with E. coli, and
she’s now dedicated her life to trying to make the food system safer.
It’s the only way she can recover from the loss of her child. But when I
asked her what she eats, she told me she couldn’t tell me because she
would be sued if she answered.

Or we see Carol possibly losing
her chicken farm … or we see Moe, a seed cleaner who’s just being sued
for amounts that there’s no way he can pay, even though he’s not guilty
of anything.  Then we realized there’s something going on out there that
supersedes foods. Our rights are being denied in ways that I had never
imagined. And it was scary and shocking. And that was my biggest
surprise.

So, what does our current industrialized food
system say about our values as a nation?
Pollan:
It says we
value cheap, fast and easy when it comes to food like so many other
things, and we have lost any connection to where our food comes from.

Kenner: I met a cattle rancher and he said, you
know, we used to be scared of the Soviet Union or we used to think we
were so much better than the Soviet Union because we had many places to
buy things.  And we had many choices.  We thought if we were ever taken
over, we’d be dominated where we’d have to buy one thing from one
company, and how that’s not the American way.  And he said you look
around now, and there’s like one or two companies dominating everything
in the food world. We’ve become what we were always terrified of.

And
that just always haunted me – how could this happen in America?  It
seems very un-American that we would be so dominated, and then so
intimidated by the companies that are dominating this marketplace.

How
has the revolving door relationship between giant food companies and
Washington affected the food industry?
Pearlstein:
We
discovered that the food industry has managed to shape a lot of laws in
their favor.  For example, massive factory farms are not considered real
factories, so they are exempt from emissions standards that other
factories face.  A surprising degree of regulation is voluntary, not
mandatory, which ends up favoring the industry. 

What
have been the consequences for the American consumer?
Kenner:
Most
American consumers think that we are being protected.  But that is not
the case.  Right now the USDA does not have the authority to shut down a
plant that is producing contaminated meat.  The FDA and the USDA have
had their inspectors cut back.  And it’s for these companies now to
self-police, and what we’ve found is, when there’s a financial interest
involved, these companies would rather make the money and be sued than
correct it.  Self-policing has really just been a miserable failure. 
And I think that’s been really quite harmful to the American consumer
and to the American worker. 

Pearlstein: The
food industry has succeeded in keeping some very important information
about their products hidden from consumers.  It’s outrageous that
genetically modified foods don’t need to be labeled.  Today more than
70% of processed foods in the supermarket are genetically modified and
we have absolutely no way of knowing.  Whatever your position, you
should have the right to make informed choices, and we don’t.  Now the
FDA is contemplating whether or not to label meat and milk from cloned
cows.  It seems very basic that consumers should have the right to know
if they’re eating a cloned steak.

Is it possible to feed
a nation of millions without this kind of industrialized processing?
Pollan:
Yes.  There are alternative ways of producing food that could
improve Americans’ health.  Quality matters as much as quantity and
yield is not the measure of a healthy food system.  Quantity improves a
population’s health up to a point; after that, quality and diversity
matters more.  And it’s wrong to assume that the industrialized food
system is feeding everyone well or keeping the population healthy.  It’s
failing on both counts.

There is a section of the film
that reveals how illegal immigrants are the faceless workers that help
to bring food to our tables.  Can you give us a profile of the average
worker?
Schlosser:
The typical farm worker is a young,
Latino male who does not speak English and earns about $10,000 a year. 
The typical meatpacking worker has a similar background but earns about
twice that amount.  A very large proportion of the nation’s farm workers
and meatpackers are illegal immigrants.

Why are there
so many Spanish-speaking workers?
Kenner:
The same thing
that created obesity in this country, which is large productions of
cheap corn, has put farmers out of work in foreign countries, whether
it’s Mexico, Latin America or around the world.  And those farmers can
no longer grow food and compete with the U.S.’ subsidized food.  So a
lot of these farmers needed jobs and ended up coming into this country
to work in our food production.

And they have been here for a
number of years.  But what’s happened is that we’ve decided that it’s no
longer in the best interests of this country to have them here.  But
yet, these companies still need these people and they’re desperate, so
they work out deals where they can have a few people arrested at a
certain time so it doesn’t affect production. But it affects people’s
lives.  And these people are being deported, put in jail and sent away,
but yet, the companies can go on and it really doesn’t affect their
assembly line.  And what happens is that they are replaced by other,
desperate immigrant groups.

Could the American food
industry exist without illegal immigrants?
Schlosser:
The
food industry would not only survive, but it would have a much more
stable workforce.  We would have much less rural poverty.  And the
annual food bill of the typical American family would barely increase. 
Doubling the hourly wage of every farm worker in this country might add
$50 at most to a family’s annual food bill.

What are
scientists doing to our food and is it about helping food companies’
bottom line or about feeding a growing population?
Schlosser:
Some
scientists are trying to produce foods that are healthier, easier to
grow, and better for the environment.  But most of the food scientists
are trying to create things that will taste good and can be made cheaply
without any regard to their social or environmental consequences.

I
am not opposed to food science.  What matters is how that science is
used … and for whose benefit.

Can a person eat a healthy
diet from things they buy in the supermarket if they are not buying
organic? If so, how?
Pollan:
Yes, the supermarkets still
carry real food.  The key is to shop the perimeter of the store and stay
out of the middle where most of the processed food lurks.

How
are low-income families impacted at the supermarket?
Kenner:
Things
are really stacked against low-income families in this country.  There
is a definite desire of the food companies to sell more product to these
people because they have less time, they’re working really hard and
they have fewer hours in their day to cook.  And the fast food is very
reasonably priced.  Coke is selling for less than water.  So when these
things are happening, it’s easier for low-income families sometimes to
just go in and have a quick meal if they don’t get home until 10 o’clock
at night.  At the moment, our food is unfairly priced towards bad food.

And, in the same way that tobacco companies went after low-income
people because they were heavy users, food companies are going after
low-income people because they can market to them, they can make it look
very appealing.

What can low-income families do to eat
healthier?
Schlosser:
As much as possible, they can avoid
cheap, processed foods and fast foods.  It’s possible to eat well and
inexpensively.  But it takes more time and effort to do so, and that’s
not easy when you’re working two jobs and trying to just to keep your
head above water.  The sad thing is that these cheap foods are
ultimately much more expensive when you factor in the costs of all the
health problems that come later.

Pollan: It’s
possible to eat healthy food on a budget but it takes a greater
investment of time.  If you are willing to cook and plan ahead, you can
eat local, sustainable food on a budget.

If someone
wanted to get involved and help change the system, what would you
suggest they do?
Pearlstein:
I hope people will want to be
more engaged in the process of eating and shopping for food.  We have
learned that there are a lot of different fronts to fight on this one,
and people can see what most resonates with them.  Maybe it’s really
just “voting with their forks” – eating less meat, buying different
food, buying from companies they feel good about, going to farmers
markets.

People can try to find a CSA – community supported
agriculture – where you buy a share in a farm and get local food all
year.  That really helps support farmers and you get fresh, seasonal
food.  On the local political level, people can work on food access
issues, like getting more markets into low income communities, getting
better lunch programs in schools, trying to get sodas out of schools. 
And on a national level, we’ve learned that reforming the Farm Bill
would have a huge influence on our food system. It requires some
education, but it is something we should care about.

What
do you hope people take away from this film?
Schlosser:
I
hope it opens their eyes.

Kenner: That things
can change in this country. It changed against the big tobacco
companies.  We have to influence the government and readjust these
scales back into the interests of the consumer.  We did it before, and
we can do it again.

Pollan: A deeper knowledge
of where their food comes from and a sense of outrage over how their
food is being produced and a sense of hope and possibility of the
alternatives springing up around the country.  Food, Inc. is
the most important and powerful film about our food system in a
generation.

Some photos in the film.

Categories: Food and drink Tags: