We do not think much about how food gets to our tables, or what had to happen to fill our supermarket’s produce section with perfectly round red tomatoes and its meat counter with slabs of beautifully marbled steak. We do not realize that the meat in one fast-food hamburger may come from a thousand different cattle raised in five different countries. In fact, most of us have a fairly abstract understanding of what happens on a farm. In America’s Food, Harvey Blatt gives us the specifics. He tells us, for example, that a third of the fruits and vegetables grown are discarded for purely aesthetic reasons; that the artificial fertilizers used to enrich our depleted soil contain poisonous heavy metals; that chickens who stand all day on wire in cages choose feed with pain-killing drugs over feed without them; and that the average American eats his or her body weight in food additives each year. Blatt also asks us to think about the consequences of eating food so far removed from agriculture; why unhealthy food is cheap; why there is an International Federation of Competitive Eating; what we don’t want to know about how animals raised for meat live, die, and are butchered; whether people are even designed to be carnivorous; and why there is hunger when food production has increased so dramatically. America’s Food describes the production of all types of food in the United States and the environmental and health problems associated with each. After taking us on a tour of the American food system―not only the basic food groups but soil, grain farming, organic food, genetically modified food, food processing, and diet―Blatt reminds us that we are not powerless. Once we know the facts about food in America, we can change things by the choices we make as consumers, as voters, and as ethical human beings
Anthropologist Steve Striffler begins this book in a poultry processing plant, drawing on his own experiences there as a worker. He also reports on the way chickens are raised today and how they are consumed. What he discovers about America’s favorite meat is not just unpleasant but a powerful indictment of our industrial food system. The process of bringing chicken to our dinner tables is unhealthy for all concerned―from farmer to factory worker to consumer.
The book traces the development of the poultry industry since the Second World War, analyzing the impact of such changes as the destruction of the family farm, the processing of chicken into nuggets and patties, and the changing makeup of the industrial labor force. The author describes the lives of immigrant workers and their reception in the small towns where they live. The conclusion is clear: there has to be a better way. Striffler proposes radical but practical change, a plan that promises more humane treatment of chickens, better food for the consumer, and fair payment for food workers and farmers.
In Food Fight, one of the world’s best-known and most respected experts on nutrition, obesity, and eating disorders delivers the sobering message that America is quickly succumbing to a “toxic” food environment guaranteed to produce obesity, disability, and death.
Dr. Kelly D. Brownell goes beyond the bestselling Fast Food Nation to explore the roots of the obesity epidemic and the enormous toll it is taking on the nation’s health, vitality, and productivity. And he offers an unflinching assessment of a culture that feeds its pets better than its children, that targets the poor and children as a market for high-calorie, low-nutrition junk food and manipulates children into poor eating habits with toy giveaways and in-school promotions.
But Food Fight isn’t all bad news. It is also an inspiring call to action from one of the nation’s most effective public health advocates. Dr. Brownell suggests bold public policy initiatives for stemming the rising tide of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease, such as imposing taxes on junk food and using the proceeds to make healthy foods more affordable and available. He describes steps individuals can take to help safeguard their and their families’ health, including pressuring schools to remove junk food vending machines. And he offers a workable plan for improving individual and family eating and exercise habits.
Food, Inc. is guaranteed to shake up our perceptions of what we eat. This powerful documentary deconstructing the corporate food industry in America was hailed by Entertainment Weekly as “more than a terrific movie—it’s an important movie.” Aided by expert commentators such as Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser, the film poses questions such as: Where has my food come from, and who has processed it? What are the giant agribusinesses and what stake do they have in maintaining the status quo of food production and consumption? How can I feed my family healthy foods affordably?
Expanding on the film’s themes, the book Food, Inc. will answer those questions through a series of challenging essays by leading experts and thinkers. This book will encourage those inspired by the film to learn more about the issues, and act to change the world.
For thirty days, Morgan Spurlock ate nothing but McDonald’s as part of an investigation into the effects of fast food on American health. The resulting documentary earned him an Academy Award nomination and broke box-office records worldwide.
But there’s more to the story, and in Don’t Eat This Book, Spurlock examines everything from school lunch programs and the marketing of fast food to the decline of physical education. He looks at why fast food is so tasty, cheap, and ultimately seductive—and interviews experts from surgeons general and kids to marketing gurus and lawmakers, who share their research and opinions on what we can do to offset a health crisis of supersized proportions.
Don’t eat this groundbreaking, hilarious book—but if you care about your country’s health, your children’s, and your own, you better read it.