Corruption in the Food Industry

Corruption in the Food Industry

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America is a capitalist society. It should come to a surprise when we live like this daily. We work for profit. We’ll buy either for pleasure or to sell later for profit. It should come to no surprise that our food is made the same way because we are what we eat. We are capitalist that eat a capitalist meal. So we must question our politics. Is our government system to blame for accepting and encouraging monopolies?
In the movie “Food Inc” we saw how the food industry keeps their farmers under their control. Food incorporation sets new protocols that require the farmers to keep purchasing more on dept. As a result of loans and only $18,000 annually (Kenner) they are stuck in a hole that they can’t get out of. I find many things disturbing about this. First off, I find it disturbing that he picked a poorly educated farming area. It seems obvious that the farmers don’t know what they got into and don’t have any knownldge of how to get out. I find it an example of poor unionization within the small farmers that are to be blamed not the ones that find out how to exploit it (Kenner).
The movie went even deeper into the pocket of these corporations. We got to see who is really in the FDA. We soon found out previous CEO’s of food incorporation such as Tyson has taken control of the FDA board (Kenner). As a result, there wasn’t only a question of conflict of interest. Further towards the end of the movie we see how a natural farm works. During which, we are told by the owner of the farm that the FDA attempted to shut them down due to the threat of possible contamination during the gutting process in the farm. Though the farm took action and made an independent study that showed their food was cleaner than the food industry. This is a great example of independence; just because we have one huge company that can do anything it doesn’t mean it more efficient or safer.
Further into the movie we also witness how the corporations hire illegal immigrants to work due to the lack of documentation they are able to easily replace and hide their tax or safety requirements (Kenner). Again recent pushes by our government had allowed for I.C.E to have more access to stop this.

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In the movie we see that law enforcement only takes enough to not break the chain (Kenner). This is yet another example of government failure. Wither it is because the chief of police was endorsed or provided money for his campaign; we may never know neither the less it is a strong possibility.
The movie showed a lot of evidence of how the food industry takes advantage of both our government system and they have reached their hands into the system to benefit them. Possibly the greatest example is Kevin’s law and the Burger law. In the Kevin law the court has found that the FDA can’t shut down a contaminated food factory (Kenner). As a result companies don’t have to revise policies to solve issue but rather they just need to improvise with either high tech gadgets to get rid of the issues such as E.Coli; in the movie we see that one industry uses ammonia to kill all germs in meat, wither this is safe or not we can’t tell. In the Burger law, it is found that saying anything that may harm the food industries would make it illegal and give the corporation’s the right to sue (Kenner). The Kevin’s law and Burger law are both evidence that the government has failed to protect both our safety and our freedom of speech by ruling in favor of corporations.
As a large corporation they have an obligation to the stock holders. We can’t blame a corporation for being cost efficient, since that is the biases of capitalism. Rather, it would be logical to blame a government system that accepts money from companies in exchange for favors or reelection money.
In an article by a Foreign Corrupt Practice Act professor, he expresses his thoughts on a recent legislation that was passed by President Obama. The legislation the professor refers to a newly passed Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA). This act was sign by our current president Obama on January 4th, 2011. The FSMA requires all foreign food to be certified by government representatives of the country in which the food came (Thought). The author of this article bring up a good point that this may influence bribery to certify the more faster due to the fact food spoils fast (Thought). As a result instead of creating safer policies, that act now can allow food to be pasted faster by a foreign representative without placing his accuracy or morals in question. In a quick effort to please possible food fanatics/voters, Obama passed this legislation without looking into an actual resolution that wouldn’t open any backdoors.
As we continue into our daily lives outside of school we see advertisements of sugary goods, many of which are targeted to children. In a very persuasive article by Sc.D Elizabeth Whelan, she starts off by quoting a book from Marion Nestle, a profession in nutrition. She agrees though food industries sell and present food as though it’s a balanced and fun meal it’s anything but (Elizabeth M. Whelan). Though as we looking deeper not only at ourselves but at reality; in the end it is us picking up the forks and spoons to eat the unhealthy food. Ms.Whelan makes a valid point that even though the food industry is spends millions of dollars on advertisement and hours upon hours to figure out what colors or characters we relate to the most. We hardly spend any of our time to exercise, cook, or even see what is in our food.
In another article by journalist Marc Morano, he quotes many of Dr.Nestle’s statements from her book. One of which stated “The marketing of food to children is rather unfair in taking advantage of people whose willpower isn’t formed. That’s and area where we could look at some public policy approaches” (Morano). Her statement is suggesting we place new taxes such as “sweets” or “sin” taxes on eating food that isn’t particularly healthy. This is just a bold attempt to destroy not only our individual rights to eat a rocky road ice-cream because we just broke up with someone. Not only does it tax what many of us all “comfort food” but it completely ignores the fact that parents are the ones who are suppose to have the “formed willpower” to tell their children, “no you can’t have a shake with those fries”.
Dr. Nestle also states “I like the idea of a soft drink tax. It is clearly a junk food. All it is is sugar and water, so it is an easy target,” (Morano). I couldn’t have said it any better; soft drinks are an easy target for people like her. The drink is readily accessible for a reason. They are cheaper than water; companies sell them at bulk to schools because it is what little revenue the school can make without needing government forms or grants. To tax soft drink will mean we are taxing children that have hardly any money to begin with, along with removing more the school’s revenue.
Finally, as we watched Supersize me as documentary on the consequences of eating fast food as a routine diet we see many negatives of the food industry. One example of how the food industry is ruthless is when one of the CEOs of a fast-food chain states they are part of the problem is hired immediately. Though I don’t not find this wrong because if I was a stock-holder with my life savings invested within his company I would without a doubt have him fired for placing my money at risk. That is the harsh reality of economics, you cannot place you company in shock by either a damaging statement or bad executive move. I found most disturbing about the movie was how a case was being made against McDonalds that two obese teens did not know fast-food was unhealthy (Spurlock). Regardless of how they lived word of mouth had to have taught them fast food is not healthy, and if that didn’t health education has been in place for years now teaching us what to eat.
Many people got the point what the movie conveyed; which was fast-food was unhealthy. Though, they didn’t realize that all of it was pointless because Spurlock demonstrated what was already confirmed by common knowledge. Many of his street interviews also confirmed, that fast-food is good but not to be eaten all the time (Spurlock). If that was true way hasn’t anyone stop eating it? Because, it is pure American freedom to eat what we want, when we want.
So I beg the question, have we become so lazy as to not noticing that when we point one finger at someone, that 3 fingers on that same hand is pointing right back at us? Many of us express our freedom by talking, writing, and drawing. So the same should be said for eating. If we choose to eating a Big Mac over a home-grilled hamburger then so be it. If we choose to watch the super-bowl rather than playing football then so is it. No one has the right to tell us what to eat or to force us to be slimmer and just like we choose to be capitalist; the food industry has the right to capitalize on our hunger without forcing it down our throat without our consent or that might be considered assault.

Works Cited

Elizabeth M. Whelan, Sc.D., M.P.H. AMERICAN COUNCIL ON SCIENCE AND HEALTH. 12 march 2002. 3 1 2012 .
Food Inc. Dir. Robert Kenner. 2009.
Morano, Marco. Obesity:Should food industry be blamed? 26 February 2002. 7 1 2012 .
Supersize me. Dir. Morgan Spurlock. Perf. Morgan Spurlock. 2004.
Thought, Food For. FCPA Professor. 4 1 2012 .
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