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Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Food Matters: Are You Fed Up?

Heather Callaghan

But what will you do about it?

The movie documentary FED UP may not have played at theaters near you - but very recently, it was made available on DVD and online. The tagline is: "It's time to get real about food." But will viewers really be empowered to do that when they watch?

Are you interested in seeing it? The trailer is below.

This writer cannot align herself completely with the views and messages of the movie since it hasn't been viewed yet.

(And I have suspicions about its ultimate message...)

Here's what I think this movie can do:
  • Provide some useful statistics and a timeline about the food industry, farming and disease rates
  • Inspire, motivate and anger viewers, possibly promoting personal change 
Here's what I'm afraid it will do:
  • Completely gloss over a lot of deep-seated food system problems that led to cheap, void foods
  • Deflect blame, flimsy blame, in the wrong places without real repercussions
  • Encourage people to go to Washington to petition changes in marketing - sorry, this is only "symptom swatting." Supersize Me was a lot like this - the documentary Fat Head countered the solutions offered in Supersize Me
  • Thesis of the problem: Marketing - sugar - marketing - sugar - marketing - sugar
I've said this once and I'll say it again - children cannot get into cars and drive up to McDonald's in the middle of the night. Nor are they the shoppers in the household. This is not to place blame merely on individuals - it's to point out that deflecting harsh truths about food system corruption will lead to a solution that fizzles out and ultimately disempower people. It's true that big marketing dollars does play a role in influencing food choice and children are impressionable to early home habits. And to be sure, the junk-food SAD severely affects the DNA of future generations.

But McDonald's (which isn't the only processed food source) has focused on and tried to regain its millennial market - without success. Many franchises, like Taco Bell, have abandoned the kid market altogether to put more energy into being buds with millennials. So, is marketing to children really the biggest problem we face when it comes to obesity and chronic disease?

As food monopolies and big agribusinesses supersede small, natural farms and people simply cannot afford other options (or those options are not in their area because they've been shuttered), parents are more confined to use what they've got - and what they've got is a lot of damaging additives, nutrient-void foods, and industrial chemical exposure in air, food and water. But knowledge of that doesn't necessarily lessen the amount of obstacles.

Will FED UP strike the root - or will it do nothing more than pull a leaf? If you have seen the movie - please let me know your thoughts!


PS - Does this title sound familiar to you?

That's because in 2002, a documentary of the same name came out that delved deeply into the politics and history of genetic engineering, soil degradation, biodiversity loss and more. You can watch that one for free right here. Was the titling of the new documentary just an accident?

More examples of "symptom swatting":

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