If you care about what you’re eating, you should see the new documentary Food Inc. Playing in major cities for the past few weeks, it’s a mostly even-handed examination of the industrialization and corporate domination of America’s food production. Between showing filthy chicken coops full of drugged birds that can barely move and cows packed in amongst piles of excrement, it explains how federal agricultural subsidies encourage the overproduction of corn. No wonder we use corn in everything, from feeding cows (where corn feed is linked to higher rates of E. coli) to making artificial sweetener for countless soft drinks.
The film has one major fault. It concludes with the message that one of the clear causes of the disease can also be its cure. The FDA is supposed to protect us, it prods in the closing credits. But is it reasonable to assume that you will ever be able to trust Washington bureaucrats with protecting your children? The documentary’s most engaging interview is with small farmer Joel Salatin, who reminds us that the typical attitude of the central regulators—”we know what’s best for you – so comply!”—is the same kind of outlook that gets America into messy foreign entanglements.