Both “King Corn” and “Food Inc.” are relatively outdated movies- 2007 and 2008 respectively. Things have changed since then, but for the most part, agribusiness and food production have stayed the same. It may be, however, that these documentaries brought awareness of corruption in the food industry, and some of these changes owe it to the documentaries.
Two changes that I have seen in the past eight years are the lowering of high fructose corn syrup use by major food brands, such as Caprisun, and new standards set for school meals and lunches. By the Hunger-Free Kids Act, enacted by President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama (who both didn't come into term until 2008) schools now have to align with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, meaning that there are daily and weekly minimums and maximums on the serving of each food group, sugars, sodium, and calorie content. (Nutrition Standards for School Meals, 2016) Elementary students, for example, require less than or equal to 935 mg of sodium for a lunch, and 535 mg for a breakfast meal. If standards overlap between middle school and elementary, the students can be served the same meal (since elementary students require 550-650 calories and middle schoolers 600-700, serving a 600 calorie meal is acceptable for both.) (Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, 2012) , For a restaurant to claim the Kid's Live Well label by the National Restaurant Association, their kids’ meals must meet the same standards as the schools. (As used for elementary school students.) (Niebaum, 2012) While these regulations don't relate to how food is produced directly, (an indirect correlation could be that since added sugars are lowered, less corn I added in the form of sweeteners. Perhaps, also, lean meat requirements mean that chicken would be served more often than ground beef.) they show a post-2008 peaked interest in healthy eating around the nation. The fact that companies, brand names and restaurants, are changing their cooking methods to “meet” the rising concerns of consumers and their health, displays a little progress. I never used to see so many packages of food flaunting “no high fructose corn syrup,” but now it's practically everywhere, likely because businesses know that's what a lot of people want. So maybe less processed corn is making its way into our packaged food supply, but I wouldn't say that less corn in total is used, just because the American population is increasing, and there are therefore more mouths to feed.
Nevertheless, I still think the food industry has a long way to go. Monoculture, which I consider to be one of the most terrible environmental tragedies, is still strong. On May 19, 2016, crop dictator Monsanto merged with Bayer, a German pesticide company. (Stanley, 2016) Together, I am certain that they can only come up with more environment harming inventions to force farmers into buying. The fact that America can allow monopolies to come into power when it comes to agribusiness, proves to me that food production rituals continue to look like those shown in the documentaries.
Corn is basically everything, and yet it is nothing because it has no nutritional value anymore. It used to, but humans have, out of pure greed, altered the poor plant into something more like an economic regulator than living thing, or food. It might seem like cheap food is great, as it allows low income people access. Yet, there is no point to food if it is making you more sick than nourished. Monoculture crops do the same thing to the environment and to animals. It sickens them instead of making them stronger. Eventually, the sickness will catch up, and nothing pure and healthy will grow. I wish I could say that the documentaries were wrong.
Niebaum, K. (2012). Kid's Livewell Program: About. Retrieved December 22, 2016, from http://www.restaurant.org/Industry-Impact/Food-Healthy-Living/Kids-...
Nutrition Standards for School Meals. (2016, October 11). Retrieved December 22, 2016, from https://www.fns.usda.gov/school-meals/nutrition-standards-school-meals.
Nutrition Standards in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs, 7 C.F.R. §210 and 220. (2012).
Stanley, O. (May 19, 2016). The Bayer-Monsanto deal is a merger 4,000 years in the making. Retrieved December 22, 2016 from http://qz.com/688071/the-bayer-monsanto-deal-is-a-merger-4000-years....