A reader wrote in this morning asking whether the beef processor mentioned in my post, “One Burger, Please, Extra Ammonia, Hold the E. Coli,” was the same processor shown using ammonia in the film Food, Inc. I’m going to look into this question, but if Lunch Tray readers have any insights, please let me know. [Ed. update: It was indeed. Here’s a You Tube clip.]
The second question asked by the reader was this:
I believe [Food, Inc.] is PG-13 [ed note: I checked and it’s actually PG], but I’ve been thinking about showing it to my fourth grader, who recently expressed dismay when I told him about factory farms. He had no idea, and had thought they were all the bucolic farmer-run places he’s seen in kids picture books all his life.
Any thoughts on showing Food, Inc. to kids?
In trying to answer this question, I thought back on the film and my mind was flooded with all the scenes of terrible animal mistreatment, as well as the deeply upsetting segment about the toddler who died merely from eating a hamburger. I thought about how my own children would react to such scenes and was on the verge of advising this reader not to let her son watch the film.
And then I caught myself. What does it say about the state of our nation’s food supply that merely showing footage of it to an elementary school child could cause nightmares?
Of course, the slaughtering of animals has never been pretty, whether on a farm or in a slaughterhouse, but even the mere raising of animals by modern agribusiness — pigs packed so tightly into a feeding lot that they wallow in feces and eat each other’s tails, e.g. — is the stuff of horror films.
So, what’s your advice to this mom of a fourth grader? Yea or nay on a screening of Food, Inc.? For whatever it’s worth, this site says the film is only suitable for kids 13 and older.