Directed by Kristin Canty (2011)
Farmageddon (unrelated to the book Farmageddon) tells the story of a deliberate campaign by federal and state regulatory agencies to harass small family farmers and buying cooperatives.
Kanty begins by briefly outlining the major food safety problem which has accompanied the boom in industrial farming and agrobusiness in the US. Instead of addressing the unhygienic conditions factory farmed animals are raised in (with animals being confined in small cages and pens with their own feces , Congress has imposed an array of useless regulations on all food production and processing.
These regulations allow the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to conduct warrantless raids on small family farms and private coops. The film tells the story of various families who have been raided at gunpoint by federal and state SWAT teams – often where no or only minor infractions have occurred. Most face confiscation of their animals, product and equipment, as well as destruction of their livelihood.
Many of the raids relate to raw milk production. The latter has proven health benefits in asthma, eczema and allergic rhinitis – due to to beneficial bacteria and enzymes that are destroyed when milk is pasteurized.
The laws regulating raw milk vary from state to state – in California you can buy it at supermarkets but can’t sell yogurt or cheese made from raw milk. In some states you can only buy it at the farm gate. In others it’s illegal to sell it at all. Although it’s legal in all states for farmers and farm cooperatives to produce raw milk for their own consumption, the film depicts SWAT teams shutting down several farms and coops for doing so.
In no instance, were any of the confiscated products found to be contaminated by pathogenic bacteria. This is the implicit guarantee you get from sourcing food locally from farmers you know and trust: no farmer selling milk that makes people sick will stay in business. The source of supermarket food, in contrast, is extremely difficult to trace.
The message that comes across loud and clear in this film in this film is that food regulations created by the FDA and the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) are written by agrobusiness. The latter are clearly threatened by growing consumer demand for locally produced, unprocesssed, organic food. These regulations clearly serve the interests of Food Inc rather than the public.