Thursday, April 15, 2010

London Premiere of Food Inc

Last nights screening of Food Inc was courtesy of Stella McCartney who is behind the campaign, "meat free Monday".

The film was incredibly watchable. The graphics so beloved of the food industry of nostalgic rural idylls that adorn food packaging were adopted by the filmmakers to point out some inconvenient truths.

Anyone who has seen Fast Food Nation or read any of Felicity Lawrence's books will not have been particularly surprised by the films findings. The section that deals with the ways cows who have evolved to eat grass being force fed corn was particularly powerful as the development of e coli bacteria being introduced into the food chain plays out with devastating effects for the family of young Kevin.

The tenacity of the food industry to resist all efforts to label their products and the sheer number of lawyers and attorneys they employ is shocking.

The film touches on obesity noting that the single biggest predictor of obesity is income level. Low paid workers were shown pointing out prices of high fat, salt sugar foods compared to fruit and veg.

The film ends with an exhortation for us to vote with our purses and to choose our food more wisely. I felt this was a weak ending and needed a stronger call to action to curb the power of these powerful corporations. I think we need to demand
1) Better quality food and higher standards in the public sector such as hospitals, schools prisons
2) Strict restrictions on the promotion of junk foods to young people
3) Honest and transparent food labelling

I hope this film can be seen in lots of secondary schools. It is high time food education in schools moves beyond a discussion of food pyramids to how we are going to take on the food industry

Tonight's screening was a very glamourous affair and you can see some of the celebrity attendees here Thandie Newton, Richard E Grant and Vivienne Westwood were all there. I spent some time talking to Jeanette Orrey and Philip Lowry from the Real Food Festival about our campaign against product placement - a campaign which if the Guardian have got it right will have resulted in some protection for kids from yet more junk food advertising.

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