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Food Inc.: Appetite for Destruction 

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No one wants to see how sausage is made. Actually, you probably don't want to see how any mass-produced food product gets to market, from chicken and pork to corn and soybeans. Food, Inc. offers an unflinching look beneath the label at how in roughly 50 years the American food industry has taken production from a whimsical notion of small farms with chickens, pigs, cows and fields of corn rows and industrialized, specialized, genetically re-engineered and concentrated it into today's mega agribusiness conglomerates. The absurdity includes feeding corn to farmed fish, but it's the underregulated conditions of slaughterhouses and unlabeled genetically engineered products that leave a bad taste in your mouth. Director Robert Kenner examines how, in every sector of production, companies have pushed to produce more, faster and at a cheaper cost, and at the same time have lobbied to be self-regulating. And there are consequences — ranging from a production system that increases the dangers of E. coli contamination to a farm policy that essentially subsidizes increased prevalence of obesity and diabetes. The film includes both the horror stories of farmers sued into silence by corporate monopolies and success stories of how an organic producer is helping bring change to Walmart. It's far from a romanticized David-versus-Goliath call to arms; rather, Kenner holds out hope that if methods of food production are put on the table along with the food, consumers will demand change. It's not pleasant to consider if the food industry has a lot in common with the tobacco industry, in the sense of producing toxic products. But as Kenner points out, at least there is a successful model there for consumers to fight back. — Will Coviello

Food, Inc.

Directed by Robert Kenner

Opens Friday at Canal Place, The Shops at Canal Place, 333 Canal St., third floor, 363-1117; www.landmarktheatres.com



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