I’ve been thinking about food and where it comes from a lot lately. I’ve decided that Fair Trade and Organic are important to me and I’ll seek out products that fit both. I happened to read one of my favorite blogs, Sugar in the Raw, and today she posted about a new Indy film called  Food, Inc. While I knew about the plumped chickens (one of the reasons I’m a vegetarian), there were lots of surprises that made me a bit angry.

When we purchase items at the grocery store, we’re saying OK to the way the US food industry does business. Food, Inc. reveals what some of those “best practices” are. Harassing lawsuits against a man who cleans unpatented seeds. Forcing indebted chicken “growers” to constantly upgrade their facilities under threat of loss of contract. Hiring undocumented workers and then pretending they don’t notice when people go missing after an overnight raid of their homes.

Many of us already know about the hormones that animals are given to make them grow bigger faster. We can avoid those items and look for organic options. But there’s more to conscious shopping than staying away from large breasted chickens and bloated bovine. How can we not change the way we shop when a bill to protect the innocent keeps getting stalled in the halls of Congress because of this powerful industry? That’s exactly what’s happening to “Kevin’s Law”, a bill named after a little boy who died after eating meat tainted with E. coli. His mother, Barbara has been fighting since 2002 to get legislation passed that would give the USDA the power to shut down plants that repeatedly produce contaminated meat. Did you know they couldn’t? My heart broke for this mother as I watched her talk about her 2 1/2 year old. Then I panicked as I tried to remember the contents of my refrigerator.

Sugar is right. Thinking about all that’s going on in the food industry might make you want to toss the contest of your fridge and start over. It’s so wrong that this powerful industry can bar needed legislation, and we’re allowing it.  As Sugar says, every time we purchase something we’re saying what they’re doing is OK with us.  More importantly, it’s not as if there aren’t good and safe alternatives, but for some reason we balk at paying a little bit more for organic food and yet we’re the fattest country in the world.  Perhaps better quality and less quantity would also mean that we’d have a voice in what’s going on in the production of our food.

Sugar ends her movie review with a quote from the movie, “You vote three times a day.” But you can also do more.  Visit the Food Inc website and sign a petition to support healthy food choices in schools but supporting the effort to reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act and sign up for their newsletter to learn about upcoming legislation.  Also available is a comprehensive reading list so you can learn more if the movie isn’t playing in your area.

Read Sugar’s full review for some more eye-opening facts and watch the movie trailer. She also provides some great alternatives that are organic, sustainable, easy on the earth, and something we can be proud of.

Yes, I’m a vegetarian and a bit of a tree-hugger, but it’s not about that, it’s about good, healthy food for everyone. I want the chicken my family eats to be healthy, free from hormones and other additives, and not genetically modified.  I’m voting with my wallet.  I’m so grateful I read Sugar’s review – it’s made me more aware and more sure that organic is right for my family.


Sugar blogs at Sugar in the Raw where she writes about life, love, and everything else and you can catch her vlogging there as well. You can also find her on Twitter.  Sugar describes herself as short and sweet… sometimes bitter. She’s the co-host of Chicks Who Chat, Photographer, Writer, Mom, Occasional Wife of Pilot, and Jesus Freak.

  • To Fill Food Safety Gap, Processors Pay Inspectors (nytimes.com)
  • Janice Taylor: Food Inc.: What is the Food Industry Hiding? (huffingtonpost.com)
  • Beyond peanuts: Salmonella tough to stop (msnbc.msn.com)
  • Where’s the Beef? Kids Go Vegetarian (abcnews.go.com)
  • Maple Leaf Foods Responds to Parliamentary Sub-Committee Report “Beyond Listeriosis: Strengthening the Canadian Food Safety System” (newswire.ca)
  • Inspectors averaged 2 hours a day inside listeria-infected plant (cbc.ca)