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Food Chains: Unveiling the Hidden Exploitation in America's Food Industry

Food Chains uncovers the harsh realities of farm labor exploitation in the US and the role supermarkets play in perpetuating it.

Keywords: Food industry, exploitation, farm labor, supermarkets, labor rights. Three words: Eye-opening, Informative, Provocative


"Food Chains," directed by Sanjay Rawal and released in 2015, uncovers the often overlooked underbelly of America's food industry - the exploitation of farm laborers. The documentary shines a light on the dire situations these workers endure, and the role supermarkets play in perpetuating their plight. Given the ongoing discussions about labor rights and fair trade practices worldwide, this documentary is as timely as it is significant.


"Food Chains" delves into the harsh realities faced by the hands that pick our food. It reveals how farm labor, despite being a critical part of the food industry, remains one of the most challenging and underpaid jobs in the US. Although legal restrictions like slavery have long been abolished, modern forms of exploitation persist, from wage theft to conditions akin to slavery. The documentary argues that corporations, particularly supermarkets, play a significant role in maintaining this status quo due to their immense buying power.

More Film Analysis



Rawal's approach is primarily investigative, rigorously examining the dynamics of the farm labor market and the influence of supermarkets. The documentary displays a commendable depth of research, presenting a comprehensive exploration of the subject matter. Its presentation style is straightforward yet compelling, effectively engaging the viewers.

Historical and Factual Context


The documentary provides a historical perspective on farm labor in the US, touching upon past practices like slavery and how they have evolved into today's exploitation. It also offers factual data on the wages of farm workers and the profits of supermarkets, shedding light on the stark disparity.

Key themes in the film

  • The plight of farm laborers and their exploitation
  • The role of supermarkets in perpetuating low wages
  • The need for change to ensure fair treatment and pay for farm laborers

Film Comparisons

Unlike other documentaries on iWonder that focus on food production or consumption, "Food Chains" uniquely concentrates on the people behind our food, their struggles, and the forces maintaining their exploitation.

Noteworthy Moments

A key revelation in the documentary is the significant role supermarkets play in maintaining low wages for farm laborers, a factor that often goes unnoticed in discussions about labor exploitation.


"Food Chains" has received favorable reviews for its insightful exploration of a critical but overlooked issue. It holds a score of 7.1 on IMDb.


"Food Chains" is a crucial viewing for anyone interested in labor rights, food production, and corporate responsibility. It offers a valuable perspective on a pressing issue, making it a must-watch for socially conscious viewers.

More film information:


  • IMDb score: 7.1
  • Rotten Tomatoes score: N/A
  • Metacritic score: N/A
  • Film festival awards: N/A



  • Sanjay Rawal (director)
  • Eva Longoria (executive producer)
  • Eric Schlosser (executive producer)



  • Various farms across the US
  • Supermarkets

Key questions raised by the film:

  • How can we ensure fair treatment and pay for farm laborers?
  • What responsibility do supermarkets have in addressing labor exploitation?

I wonder what the film would be in another art form

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  1. A famous book, it would be "The Grapes of Wrath" because it explores the struggles of agricultural workers.
  2. A famous song, it would be "Working Class Hero" by John Lennon because it echoes the struggles of the working class.
  3. A famous piece of art, it would be "The Gleaners" by Jean-François Millet, as it depicts the hardship of agricultural labor.
  4. A famous celebrity, it would be Leonardo DiCaprio for his environmental and social activism.
  5. A colour, it would be grey, symbolizing the bleak conditions of farm laborers.
  6. A music style, it would be folk, for its roots in expressing societal issues.