What are we eating?

You’re strolling down aisle 4 of the supermarket in search of food to bring on the family picnic. You decide that you want to get some beef patties to make hamburgers, 10 ears of corn, fried chicken, and soda…

According to this website and film tab, everyday millions of Americans shop at supermarkets or eat fast food, but little do they know where their food comes from or what exactly is in it. To be able to meet the demand of food in the United States, the mass production of food is needed. 


Cattle are raised on factory farms, knee deep in cow manure, and are without 5 feet of personal space. They are treated brutally as they are branded, tagged, and possibly dehorned without painkillers. Unlike chickens, cattle are able to see the light of day in the feedlots and roam around freely outside. However, they are gated, crowded, and drowned in mud, ice, and their own manure.

Cattle naturally evolved to eat grass, but due to budgeting and trying to raise livestock for the least amount of money, corporate organizations feed them corn. Corn-fed cattle contain dangerously high acid levels in their stomachs and other health conditions, which require antibiotics and medication. The lack of basic health care of the cattle can lead to diseases, such as E. Coli. When cattle are sent off to the slaughterhouse, they are butchered and cleaned using an assembly line. When skinning and scrubbing the cattle, there is a possibility that the manure that was adhesive to the cattle from the feedlot does not get fully washed off. Therefore, the manure can get into the meat that the factories manufacture, which causes an E. Coli breakout. There have been many cases of E. Coli in beef. All American Meats, Inc. recently recalled 167,427 pounds of beef, in November 2015, due to E. Coli outbreak. One hamburger patty contains parts of thousands of different cattle; therefore, it is hard to determine how widespread the disease is.


The food corporations often refer to chicken raised in factory farms as “broilers”. To meet the demand of the public, GMO’s are injected into the chickens so that they grow twice as large as natural chickens and can be slaughtered in half of the amount of time. Chicken farms differ from feedlots for cattle because most chicken farms are dark, tunnel-ventilated houses. The chickens are clustered together, unable to move freely, and it is not uncommon for them to die in the farms. Because of the GMO’s and the rapid growth rate of the muscle in the chickens, their bones are unable to keep up with the pace in which their muscles are growing; therefore, they are unable to walk very far before falling. When washing the chickens in factories, they go through chlorine baths, thus adding to more chemicals that humans consume.

According to Food, Inc., food companies easily keep their employees and farmers under their control. Farmers with two chicken houses typically spend $500,000 to build the farm and to continue upgrading it with modern technology. Meanwhile, the farmers only earn around $18,000. The employees who transport the chickens from the farm to the factory are usually undocumented workers, so they aren’t going to complain about the system.


Corn is a multi-purpose crop. Scientists were able to engineer corn to take on new forms, such as ethanol, penicillin, di-glycerides, fructose, sucrose, etc. It can be found in almost every product in the supermarket from soda, to fast foods, to oil, to charcoal. Although it is a very convenient crop, the pesticide used to produce the corn has a negative impact on the environment. Biotechnology giants replaced 86% of US corn with their patented insecticide which is injected into the plant as a seed, therefore the corn grows as a giant pesticide and unable to wash off. These insecticides are harmful to both the human body, and the insects that are supposed to fertilize the crop.

Humans aren’t the only species that eat corn; it is fed to the livestock in factory farms because it is cheapest. As discussed earlier, cattle in factory farms are raised to eat corn, which can lead to E. Coli breakouts. If cattle and chicken are fed corn, then the bacteria injected into the corn, Bacillus Thuringiensis, is absorbed in the livestock, and consumed by humans.

Food corporations know the flaws in their systems. They decline to be interviewed for Food Inc. to talk about chicken farms, deny the harmful effects on people caused by pesticides, and somehow manage to pass sanitary inspections by the FDA. People continue to consume foods produced by large corporate organizations because they don’t know what the food companies are hiding from them. They don’t know what they’re putting into their bodies or the bodies in which they’re consuming, but most of the time, it is the cheaper option when shopping in the supermarket. So, next time you’re shopping for groceries, think about what you’re really feeding yourself.


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3 thoughts on “What are we eating?

  1. cmt5586

    First of all, fried chicken and hamburgers? Wouldn’t grilled chicken be more appropriate, as well as easier to cook (on a grill with the burgers?)

    Moving on, I found this really interesting, as it sheds light on some of the unsavory aspects of the food industry. The conditions they put the animals in are awful, such as letting cows live in their own manure, or not giving enough space to chickens.

    However, with the amount of people that need to be fed, what kind of remedial measures are possible? Efficiency is important with keeping costs of producing down, so that meat can be more affordable to people, right? More and more people are living on the limited space Earth has, and we have to make the most use of it and get the most out the least, because being wasteful leads to less space and more expenses for everyone. (My guesses on arguments that would by made by the companies.)

    There are some questions I have though. Companies declined to be interviewed by Food, Inc, but why would they? They knew the film was being made to disparage their companies and businesses, and that anything they said would be twisted against them. Declining interviews is less a matter of guilt and more a matter of smart thinking. Also you stated in your corn section that feeding corn to cows leads to E. Coli, by absorption into the blood, but earlier you stated that E. Coli was caused by the cows being in contact with feces, which is also the generally accepted theory. Bacillus Thuringiensis is injected in corn, yes, but that isn’t E. Coli, and has nothing to do with E. Coli.

    Notwithstanding, I think it was well written, although there is room for arguments on both sides of the equation.

  2. Audra Wren Laskey

    Its crazy to believe the treatment and chemicals these animals go through. As an avid organic and sustainably raised animal consumer these were hard to watch. At my home I own 20 chickens in which are all cage free and all different types. We get fresh eggs every morning with no GMO’s, chemicals or grain fed. Not only do they taste a million times better than store bought eggs, but they look different. When you crack the egg of the store bought, the yolk is watery and breaks, which is not supposed to happen. But with cage free organic eggs they have thick dark yolks that don’t break. The ways animals are raised really effects the quality of its bounty

  3. Alexander Nicholas Cautela

    I was actually thinking about this today in class: does eating meat make you just as guilty as them men who slaughtered them. I am your typical omnivore, and I say yes. But honestly, I accept this as a way of life. Native Americans would say prayers before they killed their bison for meat. They used every bart of the animal to the fullest extent. These animals were an integral part of their lifestyle. They were seen as dry noble, but also seen as commodities. You can’t help but have a guilty conscious, but I think there are ways to justify eating meat.

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