Food, Inc.: How the Industrial Food is Making us Sicker, Fatter and Poorer -- and What You Can do About It (Karl Weber [editor])
"When you think of the California economy, you think of high-tech industries like Silicon Valley, you think of Hollywood. You don't think of poor, desperate migrants picking fruits and vegetables with their bare hands" (p. 4).
This is interesting because people often associate places with a few eye-catching things, ignoring many other sides of those places. It reminds me of how Korea is associated with high-tech industry, Hyundai and Samsung, but people do not think of Korean art, music, history, or its ordinary people much.
"Factory farms strive to increase the number of animals they raise every year. To do so, however, they use some practices that present health concerns for consumers" (p. 22).
This is an interesting point because industries today try to outdo their competitors by increasing the level of production at all costs. In reality, consumer health must be protected even at the cost of slow production, but what happens is that consumer health is compromised for the sake of greater production. That is totally wrong.
3. ". . . companies try to convince us that they can do a better job of policing themselves than the government can. I don't think any company should have the right to decide what is safe and not safe without some government oversight, especially when they have billions of dollars at stake" (p. 39).
I find it interesting how companies want to avoid oversight, claiming that they police themselves although they always put their profits ahead of consumer health. Companies investigating themselves for unethical behavior is the same like criminals investigating themselves for crime. Why would they find fault with their own activities that they rely upon to make money?
4. "In short, organics is about more than food. It's about survival" (p. 59).
This is an interesting observation because we normally think of food when we say "organics" but it is more than that. Getting rid of organics for the sake of money may lead to a catastrophe.
5. "The difference between traditional and modern techniques for modifying the genetics of living things lies not merely in the complexity of the science involved but in the economics of social and corporate control implied by the new methods" (p. 69).
I found this quotation interesting because, as the author explains further, moving from traditional farming to industrial farming is not only about science. Economics and politics of corporate control are part of this shift. New farming techniques can be easily manipulated so that a few companies can enrich themselves at the expense of consumer health.
1. "Contrary to biotech industry propaganda, recent studies have found that U.S. farmers growing GE [genetically modified food] crops are using just as many toxic pesticides and herbicides as conventional farmers and in some cases are using more" (p. 84).
This is interesting because large companies often tell one thing but do completely the opposite. And they manage to do so by hiding their activities through propaganda.
2. "The grain required to fill a 25-gallon SUV gas tank with ethanol would feed one person for a full year.' And yet the United States is providing huge subsidies to a program that feeds cars, not people" (p. 93).
This is an interesting quote because it suggests that the government is easily sacrificing the needs of people for the sake of business interests. The quote refers to the business of corn ethanol program that is designed to feed automobiles, not people -- but at the expense of people.
3. "In 1965, eight billion livestock animals were alive on the planet at any given moment; ten billion were slaughtered every year. Today, thanks in part to CAFOs that spur faster growth and shorter lifespan, twenty billion livestock animals are alive at any moment, while nearly fifty-five billion are slaughtered annually" (p. 112).
This is an interesting observation. While the world population since 1965 a little more than doubled, the number of livestock slaughtered every year has multiplied by more than five times. So, why are there so many hungry people in the world then? Isn't the increase of livestock production supposed to decrease the number of hungry people?
4. "Packaging materials, like plastic, are oil-based products that require energy to be created and are responsible for emitting 24,200 tons of greenhouse gas every year" (p. 112).
This is an interesting quote because it points to the fact that such simple things as the use of plastic packaging contributes so much to greenhouse emissions and thus to global warming. This reminds us that preserving the environment starts with each of us, in our daily activities such as eating.
5. "Today, almost eighty percent of the 2.5 million farm workers in the United States were born outside of the United States" (p. 132).
I find this observation really interesting. Many Americans often complain about immigration but immigrants, as this quote reminds us, are supplying Americans with food they eat every day! So, why is there so much animosity toward immigrants these days?
1. "Agricultural workers face a greater threat of suffering from pesticide-related illness than any other sector of society" (p. 143).
I find this interesting again. Most of the agricultural workers in America are immigrants and they expose themselves to the threat of poisoning more than any sector of society, but at the same time immigrants are accused of so much evil these days. They are sometimes described as a "threat" to American society!
2. "Increased demand for meat, thanks to changing living standards, has also distorted food price structures and contributed to worldwide food shortages" (p. 153).
This is interesting because the ever-growing number of people are relying upon fast food that contains meat in it. And this is negatively affecting food price structures and contributing to world hunger. And yet eating McDonalds is considered "cool."
3. "If you do bother, you will set an example for other people. If enough other people bother, each one influencing yet another in a chain reaction of behavioral change, markets for all manner of green products and alternative technologies will prosper and expand" (p. 174).
This is an interesting quote that emphasizes the importance of individual action. No individual action is insignificant and individual responsibility should not be avoided by saying that one cannot change the world. This reminds of a famous quote of Gandhi's: "be the change you want to see in the world."
4. "The question is, who decides what food is safe? In our society, the decisions are made by the same type of people who decided in the Dred Scott ruling that slaves were not human beings" (p. 186).
This is interesting because we normally rely on the safety of food on government and corporate regulators whereas these regulators define each food as either "safe" of "unsafe" sometimes depending on the profitability of the definition at a given time.
5. "Sometimes, the hardest part of learning something new is knowing what questions to ask" (p. 197).
This is an interesting comment. Not knowing what questions to ask may lock one's mind into a restricted area of inquiry, making it unable for one to know and understand larger issues.
1. "Supermarkets provide a vital public service but are not social services agencies. Their job is to sell as much food as possible" (p. 212).
This is an interesting quote because it reminds us that we cannot hold supermarkets solely responsible for our unhealthy diets since supermarkets operate under a business model, not a social services model. They cannot be expected to provide social services because their main concern is maximizing profit.