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Righteous Indigestion: Why Food, Inc. Must Be Seen

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This Friday, Food, Inc. will open in theatres, and you should rush to see it. It's one of those rare films that can change the way you live, think, and certainly eat.

You will doubtless hear that Food is not always easy to watch, and this is true. Still, it's likely your reaction will run less to indigestion, and more to indignation.

Without giving too much away, the film literally peels back the whole structure and process guiding our country's immense food industry to expose corruption, restraint of trade, and the willful withholding of information from the public as to what they're actually consuming.

And not only does the industry get away with this right under our noses, they make buckets of money for their trouble. (It almost sounds like Hollywood.)

The idea that you'll never eat another burger after seeing this eye-opening expose overstates the case, but you'll certainly feel differently when next you enter a supermarket.

Most galling is the idea that in this land of endless bounty, the average citizen needs to pay a premium to actually eat healthy. We meet one family munching on fast food who successfully make the case that this is the only diet that fits their schedules and pocketbooks. They know it's unhealthy, but they have no practical alternative.

On a personal note, Eric Schlosser, author of the acclaimed Fast Food Nation and one of the guiding forces behind this film, happens to be an old college friend. We hear and see much of Eric in this film, and I'm here to tell you, you can believe what he says. He's smart, honest, and he does his homework.

Eric started out as a playwright and has also produced films, but his career as an investigative journalist is most impressive. At a time when this type of reporting is being downsized nationwide (simply because it takes time and money), he manages to keep doing work that is hard, unpleasant, and sometimes dangerous, but nevertheless vitally important to the public, and indeed, to the functioning of democracy as a whole.

Believe it or not, I write this not just as a proud and admiring friend, but as a concerned human being and parent, who like most people, wants to live a long and healthy life.

Beyond shedding disturbing light on the inner workings of an industry seemingly poisoned by greed, Food, Inc. reinforces the fundamental notion that we all need to be more watchful and inquisitive about what we and our families eat. The folksy Frank Perdue is long gone, my friends, but his chemically altered chickens live on! For this reason alone, Food, Inc. demands to be seen.

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