e don't even eat all of it, we export around 1,850 million bushels a year(that's around twice the amount that we use to make HFCs and all that junk.)
There are only so many menial tasks to go around, but the slaughterhouses have their arms open wide, so a large number of "undocumented" immigrants end up working for low pay in terrible conditions. Why is this not "slavery?" Beats me. There's also a lot of debt slavery, chicken farmers who are hundred's of thousands of dollars in debt and make maybe 20,000 a year (I assume that's after taxes, but still..) because the companies they sell to also loan them the money to build chicken coops and dictate how the chickens are cared for. This happens in other livestock situations, but they talked about chickens. Probably because the daily removal of a dozen or so dead chickens was visually impacting.
"From seed to the supermarket" was a great way to explain this vertical integration (whether it's technically vertical integration or not, that's how they were explaining it) and the consolidation of control in a few large production companies. The good thing about this is that if one company decides to make a beneficial change that makes a huge impact on the whole market; the bad part is that the standardization and lack of variety -- in fact the industrialization -- of our food production has actually increased the quantity, but decreased the quality of our food (compare ancient einkorn and emmer protein percentages to modern wheat's for instance.) This was happening before the Green Revolution, but the process has been accelerated by genetic modification and other new agricultural methods. Not only is our food lower in quality (and flavor, but that's secondary) but because of the antibiotic-resistant bacteria it's actively unsafe.
I felt very uneasy about the meat safety section. They had a mother who lost her toddler to a particularly nasty serotype of E. Coli. Of course I feel bad for her, and of course I understand that one person talking about their little kid has a more personal impact than saying "16 people died yesterday due to contaminated meat," but I still felt like I was being manipulated. What she wanted was more regulation and because of how things work here in America I doubt that it would help much. It's rather like unions, they were wonderful and completely necessary in the first part of the century, but they're of limited utility now that certain well delineated rights and protections are established. Currently they're really only good for hampering decision-making and providing teachers I know with some way to complain about non-voluntary organizations. What meat companies should be forced into is labelling meat batches, and they shouldn't be allowed to impinge on people's free speech. They also should actually pull "recalled" meat off the market, the woman in question later found out that her son had eaten meat that was supposedly recalled some time before and people were still serving it.