Food Industry Ethical Wrongdoings

The documentary, Food, Inc., has taken a step in the direction of educating the public on the ethical wrongdoings of the food production industry. From the evidence the documentary portrays, the moral injustices of food production companies spans from not only the way the animals are treated and the bullying behaviors of large companies, but also, to the corruption of our government food programs.

Theories of non-consequentialism can be applied to the ways our food producing animals are handled. As companies place profit before safety, they appear to have adopted the ideas of act non-consequentialists by prioritizing speed and efficiency of production over more natural, healthy practices. For example, Food, Inc. depicted many feed lots where cows were forced to stand in close quarters in knee-deep feces. Often, these feces either: remain on the cow and contaminate the meat within because they have not been properly cleaned off before meat harvesting, or, rain-caused runoff brings the feces to crop fields or water supplies. Both situations result in deadly food-born illnesses.  

As large food corporations bully their smaller competition into failure, they execute the ideas of individual ethical egoism. Instead of practicing the views of utilitarianism by allowing the public to have numerous options of food sources, with the hope that the public can receive the best food they possibly can, these corporations desire to be the public’s one and only option for food consumption. To demolish the competition of small, independent farmers, these large companies use their size and money to inflict damaging law suits, with the hopes of financially ruining their opponents. Their hope is that everyone succumbs to their intimidation and allows them to be the one and only profitable producer of food.

It appears the heads of our government food programs, such as the FDA, follow a relative system of ethical reasoning. As they play both sides of the food issues, acting as members of large food producing companies, as well as members of the government groups in charge of regulating them, they appear to disagree that this action is a moral injustice. With personal ethical egoism ideals in mind, they use their government leverage to prevent their favored company from encountering any road blocks with the law on their way to financial success.

The food production industry has seemingly forgotten the ideas of consequentialism- no longer keeping in mind the consequences of their immoral actions. Standing by as the food they produce inflicts suffering upon those consumers unlucky enough to pay for a food-born illness infected piece of meat, they instead choose to remember the dollars their carelessness earns them. As they chose their actions, morals are left at the door, and they care not about what is right in the production of food- giving consumers the best quality there is to offer, but rather, what action will bring them closer to domination of the food industry.