Food Matters: Are You Fed Up?

Heather Callaghan
Activist Post

But what will you do about it?

The movie documentary FED UP may not have played at theaters near you – but very recently, it was made available on DVD and online. The tagline is: “It’s time to get real about food.” But will viewers really be empowered to do that when they watch?

Are you interested in seeing it? The trailer is below.

This writer cannot align herself completely with the views and messages of the movie since it hasn’t been viewed yet.

(And I have suspicions about its ultimate message…)

Here’s what I think this movie can do:

  • Provide some useful statistics and a timeline about the food industry, farming and disease rates
  • Inspire, motivate and anger viewers, possibly promoting personal change 

Here’s what I’m afraid it will do:

  • Completely gloss over a lot of deep-seated food system problems that led to cheap, void foods
  • Deflect blame, flimsy blame, in the wrong places without real repercussions
  • Encourage people to go to Washington to petition changes in marketing – sorry, this is only “symptom swatting.” Supersize Me was a lot like this – the documentary Fat Head countered the solutions offered in Supersize Me
  • Thesis of the problem: Marketing – sugar – marketing – sugar – marketing – sugar

I’ve said this once and I’ll say it again – children cannot get into cars and drive up to McDonald’s in the middle of the night. Nor are they the shoppers in the household. This is not to place blame merely on individuals – it’s to point out that deflecting harsh truths about food system corruption will lead to a solution that fizzles out and ultimately disempower people. It’s true that big marketing dollars does play a role in influencing food choice and children are impressionable to early home habits. And to be sure, the junk-food SAD severely affects the DNA of future generations.

But McDonald’s (which isn’t the only processed food source) has focused on and tried to regain its millennial market – without success. Many franchises, like Taco Bell, have abandoned the kid market altogether to put more energy into being buds with millennials. So, is marketing to children really the biggest problem we face when it comes to obesity and chronic disease?

As food monopolies and big agribusinesses supersede small, natural farms and people simply cannot afford other options (or those options are not in their area because they’ve been shuttered), parents are more confined to use what they’ve got – and what they’ve got is a lot of damaging additives, nutrient-void foods, and industrial chemical exposure in air, food and water. But knowledge of that doesn’t necessarily lessen the amount of obstacles.

Will FED UP strike the root – or will it do nothing more than pull a leaf? If you have seen the movie – please let me know your thoughts!

PS – Does this title sound familiar to you?

That’s because in 2002, a documentary of the same name came out that delved deeply into the politics and history of genetic engineering, soil degradation, biodiversity loss and more. You can watch that one for free right here. Was the titling of the new documentary just an accident?

More examples of “symptom swatting”:

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2 Comments on "Food Matters: Are You Fed Up?"

  1. Catherine J Frompovich | September 15, 2014 at 5:10 pm |

    The interesting part about the nutrition problem in the USA, for me, is this:

    In the late 1970s I was the publisher at my own publishing house dedicated to educational materials in natural nutrition for children and adults. We didn’t promote sugar foods, snacks and junk foods. We produced books like A Child’s ABC’s for Nutrition Coloring Book; Kids Cooking Naturally; Nutrition Workbook for Children, plus numerous other titles including games and duplicating masters, since photocopy machines were not in schools as yet, and other specialty items, including a pamphlet I was commissioned to design for a Penna. school district called, “Brown Bagging It.”

    Furthermore, I approached one of the largest health insurance companies with the idea of promoting our books, pamphlets, information in conjunction with their outreach programs to get children to be healthy and eat nutritiously. Literally, I was laughed at!

    One hospital administrator MD told me, “Catherine, don’t you think if there was something to nutrition, we’d know about it?”

    Furthermore, I was considered a ‘quack’!

    The ironic part in the movie FED UP for me is Dr. David Kessler’s remarks.

    After I was drafted into being a consumer health activist, his FDA was in my sights and they received many letters about food and drug problems. One, in particular, was about getting rid of TRANS FATS in processed foods–way back when Dr. Kessler was FDA Commissioner. I was after the FDA to do that. When did FDA finally do that? In November 2013 the FDA took steps to further reduce trans fats in foods
    Since I retired recently at 76 years of age, I’m looking for a publisher to republish updated versions of the books I produced from the 1970s-80s with current updates, which children really need now more than ever. I own all copyrights and am willing to talk with a publisher who will mainstream them.
    We need to get our children back to eating healthfully; too many generations have been bamboozled into eating too much sugar, additives, preservatives, and now, we have GMOs to tell them about.
    Please keep up the good fight!

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