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Official Trailer
Michael Pollan on Bill Maher

It's by Eric Schlosser, award-winning journalist and author of the book "Fast Food Nation." with narration by Michael Pollan ("The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals")

[Interesting coincidence; I went to get a snack at the break, some Stonyfield yogurt, when I got back they were interviewing Gary Hirshberg, founder of Stonyfield Farm about how he was able to be successful and produce a healthy product.]

"One of the major themes of "Fast Food Nation" and "Food, Inc." is the power of corporations to influence government policy. Again and again, we see these companies seeking de-regulation—and government subsidies. They hate government regulations that protect workers and consumers but love to receive taxpayer money. That theme has implications far beyond the food industry. The same kind of short-sighted greed that has threatened food safety and worker safety for years now threatens the entire economy of the United States.'

"The President George W. Bush administration was completely in bed with the large meatpacking and food processing companies. As a result, food safety regulations were rolled back or ignored. These industries were pretty much allowed to regulate themselves. And tens of thousands of American consumers paid the price, with their health."

"The filmmakers attempted to interview representatives from Monsanto, Tyson, Perdue and Smithfield, but they all declined."

"The Centers for Disease Control estimate that one-third of all American children born in the year 2000 will develop diabetes, as a result of poor diet and lack of exercise. So when we talk about bringing healthy food to every American—yes, it probably means spending more money on food. But you can spend that extra money on food now, or spend a lot more money later, treating heart disease and diabetes."

"If the government's going to subsidize any foods, it should be healthy foods: fruits, nuts, and vegetables—not high fructose corn syrup and corn-based cattle feeds."

Facts from Food, Inc.

  • In the 1970s, the top five beef packers controlled about 25% of the market. Today, the top four control more than 80% of the market.
  • In the 1970s, there were thousands of slaughterhouses producing the majority of beef sold. Today, we have only 13. In 1998, the USDA implemented microbial testing for salmonella and E. coli 0157h7 so that if a plant repeatedly failed these tests, the USDA could shut down the plant. After being taken to court by the meat and poultry associations, the USDA no longer has that power.
  • In 1972, the FDA conducted 50,000 food safety inspections. In 2006, the FDA conducted only 9,164.
  • During the Bush administration, the head of the FDA was the former executive VP of the National Food Processors Association.
  • During the Bush administration, the chief of staff at the USDA was the former chief lobbyist for the beef industry in Washington.
  • Prior to renaming itself an agribusiness company, Monsanto was a chemical company that produced, among other things, DDT and Agent Orange.
  • In 1996 when it introduced Round-Up Ready Soybeans, Monsanto controlled only 2% of the U.S. soybean market. Now, over 90% of soybeans in the U.S. contain Monsanto’s patented gene.
  • Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas was an attorney at Monsanto from 1976 to 1979. After his appointment to the Supreme Court, Justice Thomas wrote the majority opinion in a case that helped Monsanto enforce its seed patents.
  • The average chicken farmer invests over $500,000 and makes only $18,000 a year.
  • 32,000 hogs a day are killed in Smithfield Hog Processing Plant in Tar Heel, N.C, which is the largest slaughterhouse in the world.
  • The average American eats over 200 lbs. of meat a year.
  • 30% of the land in the U.S. is used for planting corn.
  • The modern supermarket now has, on average, 47,000 products, the majority of which is being produced by only a handful of food companies.
  • 70% of processed foods have some genetically modified ingredient.
  • SB63 Consumer Right to Know measure requiring all food derived from cloned animals to be labeled as such passed the California state legislature before being vetoed in 2007 by Governor Schwarzenegger, who said that he couldn’t sign a bill that pre-empted federal law.
  • Corn products include: ketchup, cheese, Twinkies, batteries, peanut butter, Cheez-Its, salad dressings, Coke, jelly, Sweet & Low, syrup, juice, Kool-Aid, charcoal, diapers, Motrin, meat and fast food.
  • Corn, which is the main ingredient in animal feed, is also used as a food additive. Those products commonly include: Cellulose, Xylitol, Maltodextrin, Ethylene, Gluten, Fibersol-2, Citrus Cloud Emulsion, Inosital, Fructose, Calcium Stearate, Saccharin, Sucrose, Sorbital, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Citric Acid, Di-glycerides, Semolina, Sorbic Acid, Alpha Tocopherol, Ethyl Lactate, Polydextrose, Xantham Gum, White Vinegar, Ethel Acetate, Fumaric Acid, Ascorbic Acid, Baking Powder, Zein, Vanilla Extract, Margarine, and Starch.
  • 1 in 3 Americans born after 2000 will contract early onset diabetes; Among minorities, the rate will be 1 in 2.
  • E. coli and Salmonella outbreaks have become more frequent in America, whether it be from spinach or jalapenos. In 2007, there were 73,000 people sickened from the E. coli virus.
  • Organics is the fastest growing food segment, increasing 20% annually.

last updated 11 April 2010