Friday, July 3, 2009

Daily Show Interview of Robert Kenner

Daily Show Interview of Robert Kenner (producer of Food, Inc.), on July 2, 2009

I'm summarizing...and comment in green

Jon Stewart: what's wrong with food today?
Robert: food isn't raised on open pastured, instead cows are stuffed into feedlots...
Where every day they receive large portions of a food they absolutely love, and greatly, greatly prefer to grass

Jon: how they raise animals is like the Abu Ghraib of food animals...the animals are stuffed one on top of one
another in the dark, climbing around in their own feces
That is true for many animals, and I see how people can have a big problem with that

Robert: our tax dollars subsidize this by subdiziding corn
That is true to some extent, but no one likes the subsidizies except the farmers and companies, but the payments
to the farmers are to a large extent independent of how much they produce...except for ethanol subsidies,
which are ridiculous but came about because of liberal concerns about fossil fuels
...the price of corn is mostly determined by supply and demand, not subsidies

Robert: food today is basically there to produce salt, sugar, and fat
I know he is intentionally using hyperbole, but even so that statement is a bit ridiculous. Every grocery store has
plenty of nutritious food, but consumers simply don't want much of it, so don't blame the companies.

Jon: if our food is so bad, why are we not dying earlier?
Robert: we will start dying earlier, soon...when I was a kid we spent 18% on food and 5% on health care,
now we spend 9% on food and 18% on health care, so in aggregate food our food is really more expensive.
So first, if the data are not in your favor you simply assert the data will soon change. Second, are you really
prepared to say that ALL of our increases in health care costs are due to a poorer diet? Really? The invention
of better medical technologies and new methods of treatment have NOTHING to do with it? I'll say it, he knows better
than this. Anyone smart enough to write books and produce movies knows better than this.

Jon: don't we have to mass-produce food on some level, given our busy lifestyle and large population and stuff?
Robert: but the system we have now is not sustainable because it relies on gasoline and pollutes the 6
billion go to bed hungry right now
So, everything that relies on gasoline and creates any pollution needs to be phased out? Doesn't that mean
we need to stop producing everything? Plus, because North Korean dictators intentionally starve their citizens, and
other countries do the same, that means our food system is broken?...I'm telling you, he is smarter than this, just not

Jon: so what do we do?
Robert: ag cooperations wouldn't talk to us
That is because you are dishonest. I talk to these people all the time. If they think you will be honest and fair, they will
talk to you.I guess you can't make money like that though.

Robert: consumers have more power than they think...Wal-Mart took out milk because it contained rBST and
consumers didn't want it
And consumers didn't want it because people like you lied to them about its safety.