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  • Writer's pictureJose Martinez

FOOD, INC. 2

Back in 2008, the documentary Food, Inc. promised you’ll never look at dinner the same way. And they were right. The film, directed by Robert Kenner, offered an unflattering look inside America’s corporate-controlled food industry. The Academy Award-nominated documentary, one of the highest grossing theatrical documentaries of all time, had a monumental impact on how our food is regulated.



Now, 16 years later, Food, Inc. 2 examines the modern food industry’s efficiency and vulnerabilities. This time, Kenner directs with Food, Inc. producer Melissa Robledo, and along with authors Michael Pollan (The Omnivore’s Dilemma) and Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) are “back for seconds” to spotlight how corporate consolidation has gone unchecked by our government, leaving us with a highly efficient yet shockingly vulnerable food system dedicated only towards increasing profits.

 

Food, Inc. is often credited with starting the “food movement” and was really the first of thought-provoking and shocking documentaries that show how greed and self-interest has a radical way on our lives and the way we eat. It sparked a cultural conversation about how big business controls our food system and puts our planet in peril, not to mention our workforce and health.



The sequel is being called “a timely and urgent follow-up” by the filmmakers.

 

“There’s a lot at stake when you sit down to eat,” Pollan says in the film. “When the pandemic hit, the curtain was peeled back.”

 

“There were whole crops being buried,” Schlosser adds, “and at the same time there were shortages in the supermarket.”

 

The film, in a frightening way, makes you wonder if anything has changed for the better since 2008. Our eyes were definitely opened and people really became activists for improvement but nothing really changes unless it comes from the top through legislation that controls corporate greed.

 

It shocking to see that conditions for farm laborers haven’t improved. Pickers, especially during the pandemic, were treated miserably as they provided the country with fruits and vegetables. I incorrectly thought all of that had improved with the Cesar Chavez-led strikes of the sixties and seventies.

 

“I think the people who feed us are invisible to us most of the time, says Pollan. “Food seems cheap at the register, but we don’t pay the true cost.”

 

Meanwhile, tens of billions of chickens, pigs, cows, and other animals we raise and slaughter for food annually account for roughly 15 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, primarily from cow burps, animal manure, and the fertilizer used to grow the corn and soy they eat. By clearing forests, destroying habitats and using toxic pesticides to grow animal food, the meat industry is wreaking havoc on the environment.



But this time the truth put before us isn’t that shocking. We’ve come to expect the worst from big business and the food industry. Whereas the first film was eye-opening (the documentary could easily have been called a horror film), Food, Inc. 2 is really preaching to the choir. It’s good to remind us that things need to improve but there’s no revelation that is going to scare anyone about our current situation.

 

Food, Inc 2 is available on digital.

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