The section on animals was particularly heart-wrenching. In a society built on consumer excess, the meat industry has proliferated to the extent that it has become a disgusting parody of itself. We are no longer talking about families gathered around the table for a weekly pig roast. Now, Americans feel entitled to eating hamburgers twice a day, chicken every day, pork, beef, lamb, in various forms. The sense of entitlement to gorging leads to the overproduction of meat and the crossing over of ethical boundaries with regards to humane treatment of farm animals. Moreover, the gluttony evident in the American diet is also the primary cause of a wide range of health problems — and not just obesity.
Then we see how corn and soy production has proliferated to the extent that (a) monocrops are destroying the viability of the soil and the integrity of local ecosystems; (b) food manufacturers are forced to find new ways of modifying corn and soy to fulfill the supply orders. The result is ridiculous: a panoply of products on the supermarket shelves that contain nothing but processed crap. Americans then pour millions of dollars into diet programs and worse yet, low-fat and diet foods that are produced with the self-same corn and soy that destroyed their health in the first place. The irony is palpable, and yet I still cannot help but feel that while the companies that produce the foods are laughing their way to the banks that the consumers are still blind to their personal responsibility.
On the one hand, the government cannot be responsible for the dumb choices that consumers make, and yet on the other hand, Pollan shows that the government has gone too far to support agrobusiness. If the USDA and the FDA were to take a stance against agrobusiness, instead promoting small and sustainable farms, then the future of American food production might look brighter. As of now, it seems that Monsanto and the other evil megaliths of agrobusinesses are poised to maintain dominance of the market. The market for agrobusiness extends not only throughout North America but also the world, as genetically modified organisms are touted as the sure way to alleviate hunger and malnutrition worldwide.
The self-righteousness of the food industry and the government officials that support it are among the underlying themes of Food, Inc. Pollan shows how the environment and public health both suffer at the hands of agrobusiness. Profit has taken the place of ethical responsibility, and there are as of now no laws that protect the consumer. The system is skewed in favor of agrobusiness, with no ned in sight as their relative power has grown out of control.
Pollan, Michael. Food, Inc. Feature.