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CavsConnect

The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School

CavsConnect

The student news site of Coral Gables Senior High School

CavsConnect

“Poisoned” Unveils the Deadly Diseases in Our Food

This Netflix documentary uncovers the truth about our “fresh” goods.

 

Filmmaker: Stephanie Soechtig 

Release Date: Aug. 2, 2023

MPAA Rating: TV-14

Our Rating: A-

The recent Netflix documentary “Poisoned: The Dirty Truth About Your Food”  uncovers how truly “safe” the American food system is. Through a series of interviews with victims, their families and the people who poisoned them, the film discovers the contaminated truth: there are deadly diseases in every meal you pay for.

 The genesis of “Poisoned” was the E. coli 0157 outbreak of 1993, a deadly foodborne illness breakout that attacked the organs of young children. Its cause was tainted, undercooked meat distributed by the fast-food chain Jack in the Box. This pathogen gave rise to infection in over 750 people and the death of four small children. The official United States Department of Agriculture policy was that the consumer was expected to cook the E. coli and other infectious diseases out of the beef themselves. In the documentary’s words, the corporations shifted the burden of dealing with infectious disease from company to consumer.  

Jack In the Box knowingly cooked meat lower than regulation standard. This along with E.coli in the meat caused an outbreak.

“I think that the accountability of infection is on the company. Even if people take the right precautions, food can still poison them. Undoubtedly, the industry should be held accountable for the infections they knowingly sell,” freshman Vincenzo López said.

 According to the CDC, almost 60% of E. coli cases in 2022 were linked to leafy greens. Unlike beef, consumers do not cook leafy greens and therefore could not kill the contamination in their food. 

The documentary’s well executed interrogation of the industry finds that leafy greens produced by large corporations are grown in soil exposed to animal feces and contaminated water. The documentary excels when showing how the lines between food and product have blurred in they eyes of large corporations. It accomplishes this through dramatic scores, as well as evocative cinematography that captures the unsanitary conditions in which animals are slaughtered. The industry no longer thinks of their product as something that will be consumed; instead, it is merely something that will gain them profit. 

“I was surprised that even vegetables like romaine lettuce are affected by the animal industry. As a vegetarian, I thought the meat industry had little effect on my food. Not only can I become ill just by eating vegetables, but there is little I can do to prevent myself from being infected by plants,” freshman Erik Hjelm said.

“Poisoned” fully encompasses the severity of the American Food system and the consequences that incompetent regulation can have toward consumers. The hour and a half documentary highlights even more issues in factory production, across all food groups. Informationally speaking, the documentary is un-biased, cohesive and explicit. Nonetheless, the solutions to a variety of problems in relation to the consumer are not present. Overall, “Poisoned” succeeds in presenting facts whilst it fails in guiding the consumer.

 The solution the film presents is to continue buying unreliable products, but only those with lesser chances of contamination. While this seems reasonable, the consequence is a perpetual gamble with every purchase of food. The most cognitive and moral solution would be to stop financially supporting industries that allow pathogens to fester in their facilities. The unsanitary state of cattle feedlots and chicken hatcheries contribute to the creation of fatal pathogens such as E. coli 0157, along with a diverse number of bacteria.

“If you were to ask me about who is responsible for unsafe food… I think the primary fault goes to the meat industry. They should be more careful with their waste product, and where that waste product goes. I also think leafy green companies should be held to some kind of standard when it comes to water irrigation and the harmful contents it can have,” freshman Jan Daive Calimlim said. 

Due to the lack of animal waste regulation and poor irrigation systems, these animal pathogens also find themselves in all types of consumable plants. However, stopping the consumption of animal products would effectively incentivize corporations to improve sanitation. This would reduce the probability that a harmful bacteria could reach the consumer. 

“Honestly, watching the documentary has changed the way I look at food. Now every time I eat lettuce, I know I’m taking a risk. It’s unfortunate that we have such a responsibility of ensuring that our food isn’t contaminated. Our government needs to take accountability and do their job of protecting our food system, because safe food is a human right, ” junior Caitlin Savage said.

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About the Contributor
Luke Savage, CavsConnect Staff Writer
Luke Savage is a freshman at Coral Gables Senior High, working as a staff writer for Cavsconnect. He is an avid reader and runner who hopes to improve his writing and the skills involved with the triad throughout his Gables career. Additionally, he takes educational matters with utmost importance and intently plans on having an almost perfect grade point average by the end of the year. Regardless of the sacrifice of time or labor, Luke will present his best work in every class. The genesis for his interest in CavsConnect began during his search for the right publication. Writing professionally in conjunction with designing aesthetic websites interested him. He was more enticed after learning that the publication hosted an extremely competitive environment. Now with the goal of one day becoming Editor-in-Chief, he has incentive to write of a high quality, in a punctual manner and bribe the upperclassmen. Individually, Luke is often described as independent, hard-working and pragmatic. But most see him as impertinent. With four years ahead of him, Gables has no idea who he might become.  
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