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POV: Food, Inc.

Airs Tuesday, August 9, 2011 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Promotional graphic of a cow with a bar code on its side, for the film "Food Inc." Sick animals, environmental degradation, tainted and unhealthy food and obesity, diabetes and other health issues are only the more obvious problems with a highly mechanized and centralized system that touts efficiency as the supreme value in food production.

In "Food, Inc.," filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that's been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA.

A food processing plant featured in "Food, Inc."
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Above: A food processing plant featured in "Food, Inc."

Our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment.

We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, insecticide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won't go bad, but we also have new strains of E. coli — the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults.

Slideshow: American Lunchroom

The website American Lunchroom has an answer, and it isn't (often) pretty. The site asks kids to send in photos of what they're eating in school cafeterias across the country. With the broadcast of "Food, Inc.," we wanted to highlight the state of the American diet, so here are some pictures taken in school lunchrooms around the nation. If you're a student and want to show us what you're having for lunch, visit the website and upload your photo there!

Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser ("Fast Food Nation"), Michael Pollan ("The Omnivore's Dilemma") along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield Farms' Gary Hirschberg and Polyface Farms' Joel Salatin, "Food, Inc." reveals surprising — and often shocking truths — about what we eat, how it's produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here.

"Food, Inc." will be accompanied by "Notes on Milk," a short variation of the 2007 feature documentary "Milk in the Land: Ballad of an American Drink." Ariana Gerstein and Monteith McCollum, whose "Hybrid" aired on POV in 2002, take a quirky and poetic look at some lesser-known aspects of America’s favorite drink: the industry’s spiritual underpinnings, politics and the struggle of independent farmers.

Video

Preview: Food, Inc.

Above: How much do we know about the food we buy at our local supermarkets and serve to our families? Though our food appears the same as ever — a tomato still looks like a tomato — it has been radically transformed. In "Food Inc.," filmmaker Robert Kenner and investigative authors Eric Schlosser ("Fast Food Nation"), Michael Pollan ("The Omnivore's Dilemma") lift the veil on our U.S. food industry, revealing surprising facts about what we eat, how it's produced, who we have become as a nation and where we may go from here.