Tag Archives: Food Supply

6 Movies That Could Change the Way You Think about Food

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6 Movies That Could Change the Way You Think about Food

And even though you try to look behind your plate, your habits, your condition or your entire lifestyle, how can you be entirely sure that what you’re doing is right? It’s hard to know what’s right with today’s specialists, headlines and tips often coming in great contradiction.

Food documentaries could be a good place to start understanding better what’s hiding in the food from your plate. Either you’re looking to broaden your knowledge about food, become more food aware, or on the contrary, you’re interested to start your food education, and you couldn’t care less about food, I bet there is a tiny piece of information in every documentary that will be of help at some moment in your life.

Here are 6 documentaries about food that could change the way you envision food and your habits regarding it:

1. Got the Facts on Milk  – The Milk Documentary

The Milk Documentary intends to turn upside down the common myth that milk is good for your health. Ever since you were a kid, you knew that milk is essential for your bones, for calcium, and for proteins. At an early age, milk is a common breakfast, especially for children, who also receive it at school.

Fact is that research has shown that everything you know about milk is wrong and that milk is responsible for diseases like diabetes, arthritis, asthma and even weight gain and acne. According to the movie, the misconceptions about milk are due to the milk industry, who promote dairy because of its “huge health benefits”.

As a person with dairy allergy, creator of the movie Shira Lane discovered the link between several diseases and milk. Research on the effects of dairy on health evolved and on her journey of finding the answers to her questions she traveled a 4600 mile road. During this road she exposes the opinions and arguments of both nutritionists, dietitians, doctors, and also average Americans who believed, like most of you, that milk is good.

Another interesting fact is the controversy that the movie has caused while being promoted at festivals and to audiences. And honestly, it’s perfectly natural to stir up people, because it’s difficult to accept that something you knew all your life is wrong. The film is available on DVD, but watching the trailer is enough to get you convinced.

2. The Truth about Food

The Truth about Food is a six episode documentary covering all the aspects that food has on your body, effects tested and monitored on 500 volunteers.

Divided in six episodes: How to be healthy, How to be sexy, How to feed your kids, How to be slim, How to stay young and beautiful, How to be the best, the movie is highly educational and revealing for viewers of all ages.

If you’re not sure on certain aspects regarding food, its influence on health and beauty, then this documentary could be the thing for you. Surprisingly, you’ll find some busted myths and learn some healthy eating tips, because the movie also gives solutions on what you can do  to improve or completely change your lifestyle.

And it’s not just headlines and talks from specialists. It’s facts, facts proven on normal people just like you.

3. Food, Inc

How much do you know about the food you’re buying? How it’s made, where does it come from, but more important, are you aware about the effects it has on your health?

Food, Inc is a revealing documentary that analyzes the American food industry, showing not only the process of making the food, but also its effects on your body, on the environment and the economy.

The way in which it exposes the industry is not at all beneficial, so it might shock you, if you weren’t interested in food at all, or you might just find some new information, if you were more or less into becoming aware of your food choices. Personally, I believe the truth is somewhere in the middle. Don’t expect for the documentary to bring forward some ground breaking theories, but do expect to be more conscious about what you’re buying after watching the movie.

Its extensive view, the different aspects in which food is analyzed and its educational nature makes the movie worthwhile of beginning your food education with, either you’re a person working on improving your lifestyle or an adult living a unhealthy life but ready to make a change.

4. Food Matters

The fact that you are what you eat is no secret. Exploring the effects and the benefits of the food on the human body, this movie abounds in educational ideas that everyone should at least be aware of.

While uncovering some myths on nutrition and healing, the doctors and specialists from Food Matters reveal alternatives of healing diseases, alternatives that are basically found in your plate.

The popular belief that there is a pill for everything is highly contradicted, the solution proposed instead being a lifestyle change that can reduce diseases.

And even though not all of you believe in taking supplements and eating plants, the movie is worth watching at least for checking the other side of the story and find out some bad eating habits that you’re unconsciously doing on a daily basis.

5. Food Stamped

Sooner or later, some people decide they want to eat and live healthy. Unfortunately not all of those people can afford to buy anything that is thought to be healthy, because as you know, the organic or bio label means more cash. Can you eat well on a tight budget?

That’s the question that Shira, nutrition educator, and her husband Yoav Potash try to answer in the inspirational documentary Food Stamped. The couple reveals their journey on trying to eat healthy on a food stamped budget, journey involving meeting people facing the same problem and sharing the same views.

Struggling with the problem of quitting different ingredients from food because of money but discovering different recipes, they face the situation with humor and realism.

None of you will believe a scientist telling you what or what not to eat, but the sight of normal people trying to dwell and make the best choices concerning food is enough to just make you want to have a look. At least you can find out what dishes you can cook for 1$, right?

6. Processed People

Leading health and nutrition experts analyze what’s wrong with what we eat and and just like in Food Matters, they try to give solutions to the unhealthy lifestyle of the modern American.

Divided into 8 chapters, Processed People goes beneath the propaganda and the lies in the food system, with hard-hitting discussions on why are we so fat, what happens if we don’t de-process ourselves and what is health.

If you’re into interviews with health experts, than the movie could be the thing for you.

Farm Use of Antibiotics Defies Scrutiny

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Eighty percent of the antibiotics sold in the United States go to chickens, pigs, cows and other animals that people eat. (art: Ellen Weinstein/NYT)
Eighty percent of the antibiotics sold in the United States go to chickens, pigs, cows and other animals that people eat. (art: Ellen Weinstein/NYT)

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Farm Use of Antibiotics Defies Scrutiny

By Sabrina Tavernise, The New York Times

05 September 12

 

he numbers released quietly by the federal government this year were alarming. A ferocious germ resistant to many types of antibiotics had increased tenfold on chicken breasts, the most commonly eaten meat on the nation’s dinner tables.

But instead of a learning from a broad national inquiry into a troubling trend, scientists said they were stymied by a lack of the most basic element of research: solid data.

Eighty percent of the antibiotics sold in the United States goes to chicken, pigs, cows and other animals that people eat, yet producers of meat and poultry are not required to report how they use the drugs – which ones, on what types of animal, and in what quantities. This dearth of information makes it difficult to document the precise relationship between routine antibiotic use in animals and antibiotic-resistant infections in people, scientists say.

Advocates contend that there is already overwhelming epidemiological evidence linking the two, something that even the Food and Drug Administration has acknowledged, and that further study, while useful for science, is not essential for decision making. “At some point the available science can be used in making policy decisions,” said Gail Hansen, an epidemiologist who works for Pew Charitable Trusts, which advocates against overuse of antibiotics.

But scientists say the blank spots in data collection are a serious handicap in taking on powerful producers of poultry and meat who claim the link does not exist.

“It’s like facing off against a major public health crisis with one hand tied behind our backs,” said Keeve Nachman, an environmental health scientist at the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future, which does research on food systems.

Antibiotics are considered the crown jewels of modern medicine. They have transformed health by stopping infections since they went into broad use after World War II. But many scientists say that their effectiveness is being eroded by indiscriminate use, both to treat infections in people and to encourage growth in chickens, turkeys, cows and pigs.

Whatever the cause, resistant bacteria pose significant public health risks. Routine infections once treated with penicillin pills now require hospitalizations and intravenous drip antibiotics, said Cecilia Di Pentima, director of clinical services at the Infectious Diseases Division at Vanderbilt University’s Department of Pediatrics. Infections from such strains of bacteria are believed to cause thousands of deaths a year.

“The single biggest problem we face in infectious disease today is the rapid growth of resistance to antibiotics,” said Glenn Morris, director of the Emerging Pathogens Institute at the University of Florida. “Human use contributes to that, but use in animals clearly has a part too.”

The Food and Drug Administration has tried in fits and starts to regulate the use of antibiotics in animals sold for food. Most recently it restricted the use of cephalosporins in animals – the most common antibiotics prescribed to treat pneumonia, strep throat and urinary tract infections in people.

But advocates say the agency is afraid to use its authority. In 1977, the F.D.A. announced that it would begin banning some agricultural uses of antibiotics. The House and Senate appropriations committees – dominated by agricultural interests – passed resolutions against any such bans, and the agency retreated.

Antibiotic use in people can be closely monitored through the vast infrastructure of the nation’s health care system, but there is no equivalent for animals, making it harder to track use on farms and ranches, said William Flynn, the deputy director for science policy at the F.D.A. Center for Veterinary Medicine.

Many drugs are sold freely over the counter through feed suppliers, something the agency is trying to curb. In April, it proposed eliminating the use of certain antibiotics to stimulate growth in animals, and requiring meat and poultry producers to obtain a prescription before giving certain antibiotics to their animals. The agency just finished taking public comments to update the requirement. The scale of the problem became clear in 2010 when the F.D.A. began publishing total pharmaceutical company sales of antibiotics for use in animals raised for human consumption. It turned out that an overwhelming majority of antibiotics produced went to animals, not people. But there is still a glaring lack of information about how the drugs are used, scientists say.

The one set of data that is regularly released – a measure of antibiotic-resistant bacteria carried by meat and poultry – contains such small samples that most scientists say they are reluctant to rely on it.

The dramatic rise in the presence of salmonella on chicken breasts that was resistant to five or more classes of antibiotics, for example, was based on samples from just 171 breasts, an infinitesimal fraction of the more than eight billion birds raised and sold as food in the United States every year.

Another problem is that regulatory responsibility is fractured. The F.D.A. regulates drugs, but agriculture is the purview of the federal Department of Agriculture. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has a role.

“There’s nobody in charge,” said Dr. Morris, who worked in the agriculture department during the Clinton administration. “And when no one’s in charge, it doesn’t get done.”

John Glisson, the director of research programs at the U.S. Poultry and Egg Association, an industry group, said in an e-mail reply to questions that poultry feed mills “keep detailed records of antibiotic usage in the feed they manufacture.” The F.D.A. “has the authority to inspect and audit these records,” he said, adding that the agency “can have access to these records anytime.”

But regulators say that in reality, access is not easy. While they may have authority to look at the records from any food manufacturer, they cannot collect or publish the data.

Indeed, in July the National Pork Producers Council argued that its members should not be required to report on antibiotic prescriptions for their animals because it would add complexity.

Regulators say it is difficult even to check for compliance with existing rules. They have to look for the residue of misused or banned drugs in samples of meat from slaughterhouses and grocery stores, rather than directly monitoring use of antibiotics on farms. “We have all these producers saying, ‘Yes, of course we are following the law,’ but we have no way to verify that,” said Dr. Hansen, of Pew Charitable Trusts.

Dr. Flynn, the F.D.A. official, said the agency was moving as fast as it could to make sure antibiotics are used judiciously in farm animals. He called the plan to require animal producers to get prescriptions for certain antibiotics “an important shift.”