JOLLIBEE has changed the way Filipinos eat, the same way that McDonald’s, which revolutionized the restaurant business, transforming the physical contour of a good number of Americans.

The documentary film, Food Inc, revealed how Dick and Mac McDonald adopted Ford Motor’s assembly line production that became the blueprint of modern fast-food restaurants. That is the only bright side of the story.

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The rest of film exposes the profit-at-all-cost mantra of the food pirates who produce meat in a factory floor and who dictate on custom-made grains and vegetables and battle those who oppose their grand plan.

Take for instance “factory farming,” that showed chickens and cows in enclosures and fed to meet strict standards set by the near-monopolistic principal distributors.

It was appalling to witness fowls dying in an overcrowded poultry house and cows standing still on their own wastes.

Not only are the “detention” spaces unhygienic, the surrounding environment are infected as well.

While the system seems to be acceptable in the United States, this is currently being debated in New Zealand where large-scale proposals to farm cows in cubicles will put 18,000 of them in stables for 24 hours a day for eight months of the year, and 12 hours a day for the remaining four months.

It is an emotional issue as the Green Party says that “factory farming” not only harms the animals but also the environment and the free-range image of the country.

The specification of key players on the type of grains and vegetables has tied-up the hands of farmers who are at the mercy on the pricing and on whom to sell. What was revealing was that most of the grains fed to chicken and cows thought the latter are grass eaters.

What is mean is the way that giant food suppliers are fighting against those concerned about the environment, the use of chemicals and the promotion of unhealthy habits in food consumption. The small band fighting against big businesses are simply helpless.

When the world’s population has grown in an unprecedented number in a shorter span of time, humanity is at the crossroads on how to address the supply of food. There is a contradiction, for as people in the advanced countries are fighting obesity, the rest of the globe suffers from starvation.

The imbalance is not just in the faces of skeletal children in the arms of hopeless mothers in some distant refugee camp in Africa, but also seen in the very streets where we walk. Outside the fast food restaurant where we line-up for our favorite burger, there are street urchins waiting to take what crumbs are left in the wrapper.

It does not take a well-produced documentary film to tell us that there is something wrong with the way the food industry is shaping the way we consume food-–for there is too much for a few, while a greater number sleep with empty stomachs.

Jollibee is one of the most successful companies in the Philippines and we can be proud that it has beaten McDonald’s in its game-–but hey, there’s more to life than burger. Just ask your grandparents, when life was simple, when food was simple.