I watched Food, Inc. for the first time this weekend. The movie makes lots of points – some valid and others very misleading.
The movie stresses the importance of safe, healthy food. This is something everyone can agree with. However, Food, Inc. makes it seem like conventionally produced foods are not safe. The fact is there is no food safety benefit to the organic options the movie promotes over conventionally produced food.
Food, Inc. is critical of cheap fast food and advocates for local and organic foods. I agree that Americans need to eat better. Eating a balanced variety of healthy fruits, vegetables, proteins, grains and dairy products is something most people could do a better job of. The movie blames obesity on the fact fast food, candy and soda are so cheap and cites income level is the biggest indicator of obesity. This is a real problem. However, organic food is not the solution.
Don’t get me wrong, farmers and ranchers will happily provide the food that people demand. If you prefer to buy organic, and can afford to pay the premium, I support that decision. However, recognize that conventionally-produced food is also a safe, healthy choice. Additionally, this is a much more affordable choice, making it a more realistic option for those who struggle to make ends meet. Conventional food production is also very efficient, which is an important consideration with a growing global population and less resources available to feed people with.
A final point that really bothered me was the movie’s theme that the agriculture industry is trying to hide how food is produced. I personally know many farmers and ranchers who spend their free time trying to reach out and connect with consumers. Check out the Ranch Family Blog or Advocates for Ag to get the food production story from those who know best, actual farmers and ranchers.