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Makers of ‘Food, Inc’ sequel launch impact campaign around pressing issues

The Oscar -nominated documentary “ Food, Inc ” helped change the way many consumers think about the systems behind the things we eat.
This image released by Magnolia Pictures shows promotional art for the documentary "Food, Inc. 2." (River Road/Participant/Magnolia Pictures via AP)

The Oscar -nominated documentary “ Food, Inc ” helped change the way many consumers think about the systems behind the things we eat.

But in the 16 years since it came out, new problems have arisen and old problems got worse, magnified in part by shortages during the pandemic. They’re given a spotlight in a sequel, “ Food, Inc 2,” arriving in theaters and on digital in April.

The filmmakers are going one step further, too: The activist media company Participant, and producers River Road and Magnolia Pictures, are launching a multi-faceted campaign to raise awareness about farm workers rights, corporate consolidation and ultra-processed foods.

The campaign, announced Thursday, is in partnership with: The Open Markets Institute, a non-profit that “uses research and journalism to expose the dangers of monopolization”; The Coalition of Immokalee Workers, supporting the rights of farmworkers; And FoodFight USA, the nonpartisan movement started by entrepreneurs Todd Wagner and Lori McCreary with a goal of “cleaning up” the American food supply, which they estimate is 70% ultra-processed foods.

In October, California became the first state to ban four chemicals from processed food and drinks sold in California by 2027. The chemicals — red dye no. 3, potassium bromate, brominated vegetable oil and propyl paraben — are still used in popular products like Peeps, the popular marshmallow chicks most associated with Easter. The chemical has been linked to cancer and has been banned from makeup for more than 30 years.

“The passing of the California Food Safety Act and the subsequent introduction of similar bills in five additional states illustrate the timeliness of (the) documentary,” Wagner said in a statement. “People are beginning to recognize how tainted the U.S. food supply is and that many of the chemicals in our food are banned in other countries.”

All four chemicals are already banned in foods in the European Union.

David Linde the CEO of Participant noted that the company’s campaign for the first “Food, Inc” “supported the first major piece of food safety legislation since the 1930s” referring to the Food Safety Modernization Act, which Barack Obama signed into law in 2011. Linde said the company is proud to to “continue the critical work of galvanizing change in the food industry.”

“Food, Inc 2,” directed by Robert Kenner and Melissa Robledo and produced by Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser, will play in select theaters on April 9 before its digital release on April 12.


This story has been updated to remove references to senators supporting the Open Markets Institute.

Lindsey Bahr, The Associated Press