Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIII, No. 26
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
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For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

TIME TO HARVES THE SOYBEANS: A huge mechanical combine is making its way through a field of soybeans. Thanks to the patented seedstock developed by Monsanto, the owners of the farm can now spray a herbicide on their fields of soybeans to control the weeds but leave the soybeans unharmed because the plants have been genetically engineered to be resistant to the herbicide.

Food, Inc.: Documentary Exposes Dangers of Mechanized Food Industry

Kam Williams

Did you know that the four largest beef producers in this country control 80 percent of the market? Or that the chickens raised by large scale poultry producing companies never see sunlight during their abbreviated 49-day lifespan. Or that the chickens are fed a diet to quickly fatten them and, as a result, many of them can’t even support their own weight because their skeletons are underdeveloped?

These are some of the facts about the U.S. food industry that are revealed in Food, Inc., a documentary likely to leave you rethinking your eating habits. Anyone watching this revealing exposé will realize that agribusiness has turned food production into a highly mechanized process that is more like manufacturing than farming.

The large corporations controlling the industry know that people prefer to think that their victuals have been grown or raised in healthy environments, so all the packaging and advertising suggests that what you’re about to consume came from a fictitious family farm. However, the shocking footage director Robert Kenner somehow managed to shoot inside several representative factories and slaughterhouses around the country reveal a chilling story of misleading labeling, disease, pesticides, exploitation, genetic modification, monopolies, and greed.

For example, the film informs us that Monsanto has successfully cornered the soybean market. How? By patenting a genetically modified herbicide-resistant seed stock that they developed. So those farmers who use a herbicide to control weeds on their lands must purchase their seed stock from Monsanto because the company’s patent makes it illegal for the farmers to harvest the patented seeds for their future crops.

Furthermore, we learn that Justice Clarence Thomas used to work for Monsanto and that many others in the Bush Administration had close ties to the company as well. So, it is not surprising to see that the courts have often sided with the firm in many lawsuits that were brought against the corporation by the proverbial little guy.

Food, Inc. is to be commended for sounding a clarion call for the consumer to start demanding natural, healthy alternatives to the processed food which is being sold to us by the larger agribusiness corporations.

Excellent (4 stars). Rated PG for mature themes and disturbing images. Running time: 93 minutes. Studio: Magnolia Pictures.

For more movie summaries, see Kam’s Kapsules.

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