Update to Food Activism, Inc.
Jun 17, 2009
By Steve Cornett
So all the news coverage on this Food, Inc., thing has your town buddies and your teenagers asking questions. A consortium of companies with oxen gored by what even CNN reporters admit is a one-sided take on food production has put together a web site with lots of answers.
You can see it at: http://www.safefoodinc.org/.
You might also drop by the Animal Agriculture Alliance site to see their statement on the matter.
Their statement is about what I’d say if I were more eloquent. Except their affordability argument misses the fact that underlying the Pollan Principle touted by the film is a belief that cheap food is a problem. These guys think the fact that poor people are fatter than rich people in the U.S. is proof that food is too cheap. It’s hard to argue with that.
But maybe the rest of the public won’t agree. From the Animal Ag Alliance statement:
“The filmmaker promotes the organic and local niches to become the dominant way of producing food, but he completely fails to disclose the impact this vision would have on worldwide food supplies and on farmers' and ranchers' ability to grow ample food supplies. Worse yet, the film suggests that affordable food is nothing to brag about, and consumers should be willing to pay more for food that is produced in systems that the film advocates.
“Especially in today's economic climate, we consider that approach to food affordability incredibly elitist. Such elitism may appeal to those who can afford it, but for the vast number of Americans, the approaches advocated in the movie will further ratchet up the financial stresses they already feel in their everyday lives, with no proven benefits to their overall well-being. What's more, most American families are on very tight budgets, especially as the unemployment rate swells to nearly 10%. Now, more than ever, it is important for food to remain affordable.
“Consumers who wish to buy the organic or local foods like those featured in the film should have that choice, but safe, nutritious and affordable food for everyone should remain the most important feature of our nation's food system. The Animal Agriculture Alliance finds the movie's misleading information about how today's wholesome, nutritious and abundant food supply is produced offensive.
“Today's farmers and ranchers have a responsibility to feed our nation's 300 million people. Fortunately, American farmers and ranchers are able to produce enough food to feed not only the population of the U.S. - and do so at the lowest cost of any developed nation - but they are also able to export food to many other nations which are unable to feed their growing populations.”
Makes sense to me.
Steve Cornett is editor emeritus at Beef Today. You can reach him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.