Essay on Food, Inc. - Netflix Documentary

5 pages
1297 words
Carnegie Mellon University
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As the world continues to evolve through technological innovations, so does the implications brought forth by the increased accessibility to information which is solely meant to enlighten individuals and strengthen their understanding of the specific areas. Of greater concern is how food process is influencing peoples health, as presented in the Food, Inc. Netflix documentary, including the agricultural implications that go past the stomach (Kenner, 2008). As such, the documentary highlights some of the specific changes that have taken place within the food industry in the past five decades as well as exposing the laws that have kept the overlooked practices as a secret.

The documentary shows that in the current approaches to food production, they are responding to the growth of fast food. Only a handful of multinational corporations have a control over production whose concern is on business and outputs, enormous profits (Kenner, 2008). The documentary also shows the limited emphasis on health and safety, especially of the food, animals, workers and the implications for customers of which such considerations are overlooked. The government also fails to look into such food production processes, as it supports the production of cheap foods despite the adverse impact on health (Kenner, 2008). The documentary focuses on industrial meat, vegetables, and meat production. In summary, the film concludes that the entire or contemporary food production approaches are inhumane, environmentally and economically unsustainable (Kenner, 2008). Equally, it shows that to a greater extent, the l large food companies have legal and economic powers which are responsible for the governments silence on the issue.

Proponents and opponents or the pros and cons or who are the players?

In the documentary, different positions are held, and as such, brings about the benefits and disadvantages of the implications of agricultural technology. The proponents argue that agricultural technology is providing cheaper and affordable foods to the populations, enhancing production, nutritional values and a means of adapting to the current changes in the nutritional needs (Agrawal & Rathore, 2014). However, some cons are quite stated in the documentary. For one, although agricultural technology has led to mass production of food, there have been profound negative repercussions. For one, corn is provided as an example, of which the use of maize convertibles for human consumption, feeding animals is leading to adverse effects by overdose people on the nutrient content (Kenner, 2008). Another con of the mass production of corn is that it brings about serious ethical questions. Besides, with the mass production, comes advertisements that promote fallacies and as such, concealing the vitally harmful information that should be shown to the audience or the populations. Therefore, the documentary outlines that with the changes in the food production industry whereby foods are produced in bulk, the negative implications or ramifications comes about how corn is utilized (as convertible corn-syrup is now appearing in almost all food products), the inhumane animal treatment as well as false advertisements.

Identification of stakeholders and harms and benefits

The Food Inc., Net Flix documentary has some stakeholders who have the vested stakes. For one, there are the businesses or the multinational food corporations whose aims are on providing products to the market through agricultural technology (Au, 2015). Nonetheless, the government equally has a vested stake as the regulatory framework for setting laws and regulations. The government's silence on the issue has been responsible for the failure to expose the evils done by the larger corporations. There are the economists and environmentalists whose aim or focus is on ensuring that any approaches used in production should be sustainable. The current mass production is not economically and environmentally sustainable thereby very harmful to the health of the populations (Au, 2015). Also, there are the animal rights groups, and their interest on the ethical question is on the unfair and inhumane treatment of animals. From the documentary, mass production of food is meant to meet the demands of the populations, but the methods of producing meat are inhuman. For example, animals are being forced to eat foods that are not natural, especially steroids, corns and other products that are used for them to grow larger and faster. On the other hand, ethical or harmful effects come about with the genetic modification. Finally, the consumer rights groups equally have a vested stake, in particular on the false advertisement of the mass produced foods due to the agricultural technology whereby harmful elements or aspects of the foods presented in the market are not identified, but instead, the health benefits are excessively mentioned.

Discussion of how the various moral philosophies might view the topic

Two moral views can be used in addressing the ethical issues in the documentary. For one, there are the utilitarian ethics that suggests that for any course of action, the emphasis should be on maximizing the benefits and reducing or redressing the potential harm to the individuals (Ives & Bekessy, 2015). In essence, any method of food production should not be harmful to the individual populations while equally, animals should not also be harmed or treated inhumanely based on the methods and approaches of production. Accordingly, the utilitarian ethics suggests that the greatest happiness for the masses is a necessity. In the above case, the greatest happiness only goes to the multinational corporations that are reaping profits from the unethical approaches to food production and not considering the implications or ramifications of their methods to the larger populations. Conversely, the Kantian ethics of duty also finds the issue lacking moral judgment. According to Kantianism, acting ethical is a moral duty, and as such, one should be driven by the necessity and duty of becoming morally upright in his or her action (Korsgaard, 2013). As such, it is the responsibility of the food corporations to ensure that they are not harming the populations or the consumers. It is also the duty of the government to make sure that any methods and approaches to food production follow the laws that safeguard health and safety of the population.

Position based on your values

Based on my values, the ethical duty, and moral inclination should lead the multinational corporations and the government to ensure that any approaches to food production are not harmful to the population. Accordingly, reaping benefits at the expense of the masses is not ethical behavior according to my take, and as such, it should be the duty of everyone to ensure that health and safety become first. Besides, animals too, according to my views have the right to fair treatment. However, those opposing my views would suggest that the world is currently facing a food shortage and mass production by any means should be embraced to provide alternatively better means for feeding the populations. Also, they would argue that ethical concerns of agricultural technology are not evidence-based. Nevertheless, such propositions are called for, to some extent because adverse effects or consequences are based on hard evidence. Also, the world is indeed in a critical situation whereby resources are being depleted with no food for feeding the masses. To refute such a claim, I would suggest that at best, those attacking my position should think of the long-term impacts of the unhealthy methods and processes of food production on people's health and unfair treatment of animals.



Agrawal, S., & Rathore, P. (2014). Nanotechnology pros and cons to agriculture: a review. Int J Curr Microbiol App Sci, 3(3), 43-55.

Au, R. (2015). From genetic engineering to genome engineering: what impact has it made on science and society. Adv. Biol. Biotechnol. Genet, 2, 1-8.

Ives, C. D., & Bekessy, S. A. (2015). The ethics of offsetting nature. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, 13(10), 568-573.

Kenner, R. (2008). The truth about your food with Food, Inc. Retrieved from

Korsgaard, C. M. (2013). Kantian ethics, animals, and the law. Oxford Journal of Legal Studies, 33(4), 629-648.


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