BALANGA CITY, Bataan, Philippines – Umaabot sa 70 katao na karamihan ay mga bata ang nalason matapos kumain ng ice cream sa Brgy. Cabog-Cabog, sa lungsod na ito kamakalawa ng hapon (philstar.com; May 25, 2012)
GENERAL SANTOS CITY – A 12-year old girl died and 10 more persons, including a family of four, are presently confined at a public hospital here due to separate cases of food poisoning. (philstar.com; Nov.08, 2011)
The truth is now brought to our doorstep.
Our food industry has improved a lot– from the ancient way of hunters and gatherers (where we eat our foods raw) to this very convenient food enterprise. Whatever you want to eat, you can now find it in the grocery store in malls. You can now also fill your tummy in no time with fast foods. Everything has a basis, is interrelated, and is changing. We see how primeval our food system was, so we try to improve it. But then, every change has its consequence.
Eating supposed to be an enjoyable activity. Who does not enjoy eating? It’s a good stress-release, an outlet of depression, used for socialization, and just as a necessity for mankind to survive. Eating, or actually, food, per se, plays a crucial role in our lives. But then, aside from considering the ambiance of a certain restaurant, meticulously criticizing the food presentation, or arguing on which is cheaper, have we ever tried to stop and wonder where it really came from? What does genetically-modified means? Is your food organic? Is it really healthy? Have you tried reading the labels? Eating is really fun. So it may seem.
“An eye-opening expose of the modern food industry, Food, Inc. is both fascinating and terrifying, and essential viewing for any health-conscious citizen.”—Rotten tomatoes
While watching the film, I felt like this is a horror movie—nightmarish, gruesome, alarming. Food Inc. is a 2008 activist documentary that gives the audience a peak of the inside stories of the food production before it reaches our table. I felt chills run down my spine as I watch how chickens, beefs, and other meats, even corn and other vegetables, were produced in the United States. It is very capitalistic. Everything is all about earning money. Not just small time, but a LOT of it. And as a result, a lot were sacrificed—health, security, and human rights. It argues the importance of human cost over production cost. The public experiences so-called “cheap and convenient” foods. But then they suffer from its consequences like food poisoning, slavery of manpower from authorities (e.g. tycoons, etc.) deterioration of ecological balance, and even death.
Aside from the sanitary issues, abusive use of power was also raised in the film. The food production is held by common hands, by big names in the industry. They control it—from production to consumption. And there is a threat if someone would plan to break them. The ones who were supposed to stop this were the ones in the position in the government. And instead of taking care of the public’s sake, these people are more concerned of their vested interests.
“The industry doesn’t want you to know the truth about the food you are eating…because if you knew, you might not want to eat it.”—(Voice Over) Food Inc.
As development communicators (and/or investigative journalists), it’s our responsibility to see the “world deliberately hidden from us” and to “lift the veil away from the important subjects that are hidden.” And as a citizen of this world, we all have the right to know. Everyone has a right to healthy foods. We all must care about where the food we purchase at the grocery store really comes from, and its effects on the health of the future generation. I hope we could have the burden to take responsibility of each other, specifically, about this matter. And also, I hope this could be an inspiration for our policy makers to formulate an ordinance or a certain decree with a tooth concerning this. In addition, the public needs to be protected by the government from abusive authorities.
The truth is now brought to our doorstep. And this truth could drive us toward a certain action—an informed decision. There is a need for public involvement. But how can we be involved if we’re not informed? I think the secret is to have a noble goal. Just like what was mentioned in the film, “People have got to start demanding.” Ask and it will be given to you. Besides, everything has a basis, is interrelated and is changing. May we have the initiative to “peel back the curtain” of the things that are hidden, to have the appetite for the taste of truth.