Food,  Sustainability,  Sustainable Living

Summer Book Review: Karl Weber’s “Food, Inc.”

Gaining infamy in 2008, the film Food, Inc. exposed the dark secrets of the American Food Industry. Director Robert Kenner showcases first hand accounts of animal cruelty, environmental degradation, food-borne illness, and public health concerns via the testimonies of farmers, industry workers, consumers advocates, and people like you. Working with Kenner, author and editor Karl Weber released the participant guide Food, Inc. This film to book companion became a New York Times Best Seller including contributions from experts like Eric Schlosser, Michael Pollan, Anna Lappe, and many more.

“The American food production system and its impact on our health, our economy, our natural environment, and even our freedoms as a people is a theme with vast ramifications. Understanding it requires drawing a host of connections that no single movie could hope to trace. Hence this book, which is designed to help you take your knowledge about today’s food crisis-and your ability to help find solutions-to the next level.” (Weber, viii, 2009)

Our food industry has become so complex and regulated that we (as consumers) need to become more educated. The book, Food, Inc., goes beyond the scope of what the film intended to accomplish. Food, Inc. takes controversial issues presented in the film and offers solutions and commentary from the opinions of food experts. One expert example from Weber’s collection comes from Food and Water Watch. Food and Water Watch—a non-profit consumer organization—suggests simple steps for consumers to take action in their food education.

Image of book Food, Inc. by: Karl Weber

These simple steps are:

  • Demand to know where your food is from (demand to know the country of origin labeling so consumers can make an informed purchase)
  • Support your local farmers (shop at a local farmers market or demand grocers to label local food in the produce isle).
  • Speak out on U.S. farm policy (know what the ground rules are because our whole food policy affects all consumers)

-Weber 42, 2009

Whether it is about food sustainability, environmental impacts, animal cruelty or dire health impacts the book, Food, Inc., is one to pick up and read. This book provides important information for both the informed and non. I watched the documentary Food, Inc. by Robert Kenner long before I picked up Weber’s book. I assumed the book was going to be an identical play by play of film. You can imagine my surprise when I was proven wrong. The book takes the next step and follows up where the movie left off. Weber masterfully constructs his book into three parts: Part I: The film and thoughts from Kenner. Part II: A deeper look at the issues presented in the documentary. Part III: Real world solutions.

Author Eric Schlosser sums up the sad truth of contemporary American. He says,

“Today the U.S. government can demand the nation-wide recall of defective softball bats, sneakers, stuffed animals, and foam-rubber toy cows. But it cannot order a meatpacking company to remove contaminated, potentially lethal ground beef from fast food kitchens and supermarket shelves.” (Schlosser, Fast Food Nation).

Don’t fall victim to the arrogance of the uninformed. Read Food, Inc. Take that next step and make an effort to bother. Pick up Food, Inc. by Karl Weber and start setting an example.

Are you interested in other works concerning the food industry? Check out these other recommended books: