Essay on Food Inc - Rhetorical Analysis

1329 Words Apr 13th, 2011 6 Pages
Rhetorical Analysis – Food Inc.

‘Food Inc’, is an informative, albeit slightly biased, documentary that attempts to expose the commercialisation and monopolisation of the greater food industry. The film attempts to show the unintended consequences resulting from this, and for the most part this technique is very effective; however there is an overreliance on pathos in lieu of facts and statistics at times.
‘Food Inc’ starts off with a camera moving slowly through supermarket shelves with menacing background music and a bass voiceover informing the audience that, ‘in the American supermarket, there are no such things as seasons.’ Tomatoes and fruits, we are told, are grown overseas while in season but still green, then gassed to
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Farmers are paid to overproduce corn, which is sold for less than the cost of production. Much of the excess is used as a cheap sugar substitute in various products, and much of it used to feed cattle; to produce bigger, meatier cows. It is at this point we learn of the unintended consequences of constantly putting quantity before quality, in the chapter aptly titled ‘unintended consequences.’ Cows fed a corn diet produce deadly strains of e-coli, leading to numerous safety recalls of beef in recent years. Pollan at one point tells us that simply feeding cows grass for a period of five days would virtually eliminate any strains of the contaminate, but that this is seen as a fiscally excessive exercise by the corporations. He is presented as somewhat of an authority on the matter, but all we are really told is that he is an author with interest in mass produced foods, an attempt at ethos that falls somewhat flat. Instead of doing this however, a new industry has emerged: one that combines ammonia with hamburger filler for the companies, killing any strains of e-coli before they can reach the consumer. The film attempts to portray a deadly cycle, where untested solutions often produce deadly side-effects; which are in turn fixed with even more untested solutions, a technique that seems quite effective.
The film utilises emotional appeals, or pathos, to convince its audience more so than probably any other technique. Perhaps the

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