I remember when I was a child, I would not eat anything that my mother didn’t eat or cook. Everybody said that I was just going through a picky phase but its actually the vision of different hands chopping the vegetables, cleaning the fish and the meat and wrapping Japanese rice into sushi rolls that scared me. I witnessed first hand how they cooked meals in the kitchen and how the place looked like. The kitchen was nothing like a pristine magical lang I imagined it to be, it looked more like my worst nightmare.
That was eight years ago. As I grew older I learned to eat food wherever I go, pushing the questions as to who made it and where. But watching Food Incorporated reminded me that we should know what we eat and if its safe enough or rather, good enough for human beings.
Whether we admit it or not, food production touches our lives in ways that other corporations, business enterprises, social, political and economic issues can’t. Food is after all what we put into our mouths, into our bellies, and the fuel that serves as our energy source. Without food, we’d barely function much less survive.
Watching Food Incorporated reminds me of the wet market where fishes, meat, vegetables and fruits are sold in tables with flies buzzing and the stench of blood and sea fills the air. I grew up walking along these tables as my mother haggled with the vendors and watched in horror as a butcher knife hack off the head of a chicken my mother decided to buy. It was never easy for me to see the fingers deftly pulling out the feathers and prying the body open to remove the internal organs that they drop in a bucket of water that’s already colored with blood.
Then there’s the farm where the vegetables and fruits come from. We never know what kind of fertilizers and pesticides farmers use or how these products are transported. Some of these goods are even covered in medicines and chemicals to hasten ripening or preserve its appearance.
Even the way animals are fed is different from the way it was back then. Now, there’s the laboratory invented feeds for the animals. Leftover food and grass is no longer the in thing when it comes to animal production because feeds make the animals bigger weight more.
When we think about it, no food is really safe in this world. Modernization and technology has turned food production into something mechanical, almost as if food was some invention and not grown. But let’s face it. These facts won’t stop us from buying the milk sold in grocery store or patronizing the food sold in fast food because its more convenient. Maybe some of us will prefer the lifestyle of a vegetarian or go organic. But whatever we do, it won’t be easy and we’ll never stop asking that question, “Will food ever be safe?”