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"FOOD Inc." and Socially-Responsible Investing

If you believe the old adage "You Are What You Eat" or "Garbage In, Garbage Out" then you will definitely want to see the new documentary FOOD,Inc. After seeing it I believe many people will be very concerned not only what they eat but where the "food" they eat came from.

The realities of the food-growing and food-processing industries in the United States are as shocking as a B-rated horror movie, especially if you love animals and have a sensitive conscience.

The popularity of this this movie and the book "Fast Food Nation" by Eric Schlosser will impact the kind of investing that Socially-Responsible Funds like the Pax World Global Green Individual Fund (PGRNX) participate in.

It might even impact the hoildings of ETFs such as the

  First Trust NASDAQ Clean Edge Green Engy (Nasdaq:QCLN)

As the tagline for FOOD Inc. says, "You'll never look at dinner the same way again" and as far as I'm concerned, if a person sees this movie and is willing to eat  "the same old, same old"  I'll be very surprised.

Now I warn you, this movie is, "An unflattering look inside America's corporate controlled food industry", and as an investor you might start thinking of companies like McDonald's (NYSE:MCD), Burger King Holdings  (NYSE:BKC),Wendy's/Arby's Group (NYSE:WEN), and Yum! Brands (NYSE:YUM) as not being fit for a "Socially-Responsible" Investment Fund.

It will also change your view of companies like Tyson Foods (NYSE:TSN) Smithfield (NYSE:SFD), ConAgra (NYSE:CAG), and Cargill and it probably doesn't bode well for companies like Monsanto (NYSE:MON) either. You'll have to see the movie to judge for yourself.

 If you'd like to see a trailer of  Food Inc. you can copy and paste the following web address into your brouser ttp://  This is the home of "The Internet Movie Database" which is a very interesting site and contains a well-written user-comment from a Chris Knipp of Berkeley, CA.  Here's a few paragraphs of what Chris wrote and you can read the entire comment at

"The message of 'Food, Inc.' is that most of what Americans now eat is produced by a handful of highly centralized mega-businesses,and that this situation is detrimental to health, environment, even our very humanity. The ugly facts of animal mistreatment, food contamination, and government collusion are covered up by a secretive industry that wouldn't talk to the filmmakers or let the interiors of their chicken farms, cattle ranches, slaughterhouses, and meatpacking plants be filmed.

"Informed by the voices and outlook of bestseller authors Eric Schlosser ('Fast Food Nation') and Michael Pollen ('The Omnivore's Dilemma'), this new film is an exposé that offers some hope that things can be made better through grassroots efforts.

"True, Kenner points out, Monsanto, Smithfield, Perdue, et al. are rich and powerful. But so were the tobacco companies, and if Philip Morris and Reynolds could be fought successfully, so can the food industry. The fact that the vast Walmart [NYSE:WMT] is switching to organic foods because customers want them shows people vote effectively with their pocketbooks every time they buy a meal.

"Other documentaries have covered this ground before. The 2008 French documentary 'The World According to Monsanto' (2008) focused on how that company, with government support, monopolizes seed planting, and Deborah Koons' 2004 'The Future of Food' went over similar ground.

Jennifer Abbott and Mark Achbar's sweeping 2003 film 'The Corporation' (2003) touched on Monsanto's monopoly too. In more general terms, the ominous, narration-free German documentary 'Our Daily Bread' (Nikolaus Geyrhalter, 2003) delivered 'Food, Inc.'s' message about dehumanized factory-style food production with a European focus. Richard Linklater's 2006 'Fast Food Nation' grew out of Schlosser's book about how bad and disgusting American fast food is and how it undermines the health. These are all good films, and there are and will be lots more. As this new film mentions, exploitation and malpractice in the meat industry were exposed as far back as Upton Sinclair's 1906 muckraking book, 'The Jungle.'

"'Food, Inc.' is a populist and practical film that speaks with the voices of farmers, advocates, and journalists, and focuses on food, what's wrong with it, and what we can do about it. Kenner offers lots of practical information and appeals to everyday people. The film goes back to the Fifties to show how the rise of fast food contributed to centralized, less diverse American food production. MacDonald's now much of the chicken, beef, potatoes, and many other foods produced in the country.

"The film explains that only a handful of companies control not only most of the beef, pork, chicken, and corn produced in the US but most other food products as well. Moreover not only is corn the major feed given to food animals, but a surprising amount of the tens of thousands of products sold at today's supermarket -- that packaged junk racked in the center of the store that Atkins and now Pollen have told us to avoid, are also derived from corn. Because of the way certain food products have government support, hamburgers are cheaper than fresh vegetables. Kenner focuses on a low-income Orozcos who both work and feel forced to rely on fast food meals because they fill them and their kids more economically than fresh produce bought at the market.

"The new industry has developed chickens that grow bigger faster with more breast meat. They're kept in closed dark pens. The story is the same for all these poor mass produced critters, crammed together in great numbers, filled with antibiotics, deformed, suffering, ankle deep in their own excrement, brutally killed. The film has good footage of the big southern meat producer, Smithfield, showing how the new mega-food industry feeds off of exploited low-wage illegal immigrants who it treats as expendable, just like the animals."

Thanks to Chris and to The Internet Movie Database for sharing this information and comment with us all. Now here's a question that we all have to ask ourselves:

If we claim to care about the environment, the health of our planet, and all the creatures that inhabit this irreplaceable biosphere, how can we avoid the responsibility of knowing about this movie (and the book behind it) and acting upon what we have learned?  PLEASE---GO AND SEE THIS MOVIE FOR EVERY GOOD REASON IMAGINABLE.

Disclosure: The only investment mentioned in this article that I'm long on is the Paxworld fund PGRNX

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