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Current international business

Group work on news articles from the business environment to companies
Essay at the end of the semester
3 themes video quize
Documentary summary, compare and contrast, get conclusions from the 2
documentaries and link it to the ethical background and it good, bad?
How should it be different?

For this reaction paper, I viewed the documentary 'Food Inc.' which explores, in depth, the inner
workings of the modern food industry to identify the ways in which food production has
changed. Today, our food is often marketed as being "Farm Fresh," which gives consumers the
idea that farms still look like they did in the 1930s and 1940s. However, this is not the case.
Modern food production appears to be more of a factory than an idealistic farm setting.
Thousands of chickens are packed into dark, poorly ventilated houses, hundreds of thousands of
cattle are stocked in dry feed lots, and fruits and vegetables don't have growing seasons any
more because of genetic engineering. Doesn't this seem wrong?

Food safety and production is an issue that I hold very near to my heart, and this documentary
discusses this. Food Inc. goes into detail about how the food industry has become oligopolistic,
that is, run by just a few major companies. This is because those companies have developed
some sort of edge - via technology, marketing, etc. - which has allowed them to become very
successful. Due to this success, they seek out large-scale providers of ingredients necessary to
make their products and control the quality of those products, forcing smaller businesses with
less say in the matter to comply. This sort of corruption is similar to what has occurred with
genetic engineering. I have written multiple papers on the topic, including one last semester,
and through my research I have found that the situation is very much the same. In that market,
"big buck" companies develop and patent genetically engineered seeds which are in high
demand. Due to the patents, however, small farmers cannot compete and are often run out of
business because the products they can provide are not in high demand.

Another issue that I care deeply about is the issue of animal welfare. In the English class which I
took this semester I wrote a paper on animal welfare, and my research only made me care more
about the issue. In the food production industry, the major corporations which control the

quality of the products being produced by major providers care only about profit, and not the
well being of the animals they are producing. One example in Food Inc. related to chickens. The
chickens produced by big corporations such as Tyson and Perdue have engineered the chickens
to grow to four times the size of a normal chicken in half the time. Though the skin and muscle
have been designed to grow very quickly and efficiently, the bones and internal organs of these
modified chickens can not keep up. The documentary showed several clips of these mutant
chickens taking a few steps and then having to lay back down because their bodies can not
support their weight. This is appalling. Production animals everywhere are suffering so these
corrupted companies can dominate the market and keep turning profits.

This documentary has presented issues which relate to classes I have taken in the past, but they
relate to Science and Global Change as well. One of these issues relates to climate change. The
aforementioned massive corporations only produce mostly-corn-fed animals. In order to
produce the corn necessary to feed these animals, the corn must be planted, fertilized,
harvested, and transported, and all of these actions contribute to global warming through the
production of greenhouse gases. Also, many major production animals such as cattle are not
"designed" evolutionarily to efficiently consume and digest corn. They most efficiently digest
forage. This indigestion causes for an increased production of gases, particularly methane. This
is already known to be a greenhouse gas with a large impact on climate change and global
warming. A large portion of Science and Global Change's curriculum for this semester consisted
of learning about how human action is impacting our Earth's climate. Food Inc. relates to this in
that it discusses how society's actions pertaining to food production are detrimental to our

Overall I found this documentary to be very effective. I think that it covered all of the major
aspects of the food production industry and did a good job of pointing out the flaws with each of
these aspects. It simplified some of the more complicated components of the industry and made
it easy for the audience to comprehend the messages it was trying to convey. However, I do
believe it could be made more effective by tying all of the information together better, as well as
by providing more of a "So what?" component. All of the sections are well developed but I found
it hard to relate them to one another. I also think that, though they did very effectively point out
many of the major issues existing in the food industry, the audience could be made to feel more
powerful by making them feel as though they have the power to change the issues at hand.

The tone and vocabulary used throughout the film serve to highlight a great contrast between
large factory-based, industrial businesses and small farmlands. We hear positive language and
see beautiful, bright images when small farmland is on screen, while a dark and dull tone is
applied to scenes involving multi-national food processing factories. Pictures of thick grey

smoke and massive metal machinery are used to emphasize the artificial, assembly line machine
processes employed by several well-known companies.
Food Inc. undoubtedly drives home Kenners argument regarding the corruption of our food
industry and the highly mechanized underbelly thats been hidden from the American
consumer with the consent of our governments regulatory agencies. However, the film
remains extremely polar. The documentary recognizes only two extremes of the spectrum and
fails to include corporations that fall somewhere in the middle (between highly industrialized
factories and the agrarian/pastoral Farmer Joel).