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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Food Inc. is an eye-opening, sickening, must see

Toyin and I went to see Food Inc. today. It was an enlightening documentary about the corporate takeover of our food. As I watched, I felt sick thinking of the disgusting things I have been ingesting all of my life.

The film was sad in so many ways.

It showed how the monstrous food industry corporations cause death, poverty and injustice in the everyday lives of average Americans and it had a profound impact on me. After seeing this film, I intend to alter the way I buy groceries.

Because I am a mother of a toddler, the saddest part of the movie was the story of Kevin Kowalcyk, a 2-year-old boy who died in 2001 from E. coli poisoning from eating a hamburger. The meat that he ate was part of a recall from a processing plant that had been cited numerous times for unsanitary conditions. The plant should have been shut down. The recall didn't actually happen until several days after he died.

His mother, Barbara Kowalcyk, has been on a mission to have the law changed to allow the FDA to shut down processing plants that violate contamination standards repeatedly. She helped introduce a bill called Kevin's Law (which never passed) that would give the FDA authority to shut down processing plants that violate unsanitary conditions repeatedly. Apparently, the government does not have the authority to do this? How crazy is that?

At the end of the film Kowalcyk says that the thing she hates most about telling her story is the look of pity in people's eyes when she talks about her dead son.

She says she doesn't need a pity party; what she wants most is for people to help her get laws changed.

I started this blog last night and I didn't post it because I wanted to continue writing, but I didn't know what I wanted to write.

Now I know.

I can testify that this movie changed my life because already, this morning, as I fixed my breakfast I was slower to put things in my mouth. I wondered what is in my cereal that is going to have a harmful effect on my body and I don't even know it.

I wondered if the milk I drank came from cows who were standing in their own feces and pumped full of antibiotics.

It pisses me off when I think about the farmers who are being controlled by companies who hold patents on seeds.

Monsanto is highlighted as a corporate bully against farmers into using only its products and suing the crap out of anyone who doesn't lie down with them. There is even a documentary.

This film pissed me off at our country and our political and legal system. Where's our aid? Where are our rights to live the way we want and to do business the way we want to as individuals in a supposedly individualistic society?

It pisses me off when the government tries to shut down local farmers who do things the old fashioned way.

It pisses me off that small farmers are sued by big companies for just trying to make a living.

It pisses me off that 90 percent of processed food is filled with corn and corn products because corn is subsidized, making it cheap filler.

It pisses me off that migrant workers are jailed for working illegally in the U.S. while the American bosses who hired them aren't given so much as a fine.

It pisses me off because now I wonder what kind of crap I have been feeding my 1-year-old daughter.

It pisses me off because I think about 2-year-old Kevin Kowalcyk who died because he ate a hamburger. And instead of watching her child grow up Barbara Kowalcyk fought the government for seven years and lost, and she did this only to try to keep other mothers from experiencing the same pain that she did.

It pisses me off because I think of all the times I've fed Annika junk food and said, "Well, it might not be good for her, but it's not going to kill her."

And now I wonder if maybe someday it will.

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