“The food industry is under full scale assault. The crisis is global.” These are the opening words to the trailer for Netflix’s latest original documentary project, Rotten. At the end of the two-minute teaser, you can already tell this show is going to be massive.
The six-part series takes aim at all the dirt, both literal and figurative, that lies beneath the global food industry, and it turns out there is a lot of it. A lot.
Fraud, corruption and death, Rotten has all the ingredients of a gripping true-crime documentary, apart from this time, all of us are part of the story, we are all suffering the consequences.
The trailer includes such ominous lines as: “We’re aiding and abetting a massive act of theft” and; “Our bodies are rejecting the food we eat, and even the experts don’t really know why.” This show could make a huge cultural impact, as more and more of us begin to reconsider our behaviour towards food regarding ethics around the meat industry and beyond.
Netflix describe the show as follows: “Rotten gives food the true crime treatment, diving deep into the food production underworld to expose the corruption, waste and real dangers behind your everyday eating habits.
“In a world where huge global supply-chains are increasingly intertwined and consolidated, this series starts on your dinner plate… and follows the money to the shocking consequences—intended or not—of regulation, innovation and greed.
“Local farming is fading as profit margins decide what food makes it to our plates. The new Netflix documentary series Rotten exposes the fraud, corruption, and the consequences on our health of today’s global food industry. Nobody’s hands are clean.”
It’s not just the meat, fish and dairy industries that come under fire, however. There’s an entire episode related to shady dealings and corruption in the garlic industry, while the opening episode looks into the largest food fraud investigation in history, which concerns… honey.
It appears nothing is safe. Rotten could change the way we look at food forever.
The six episodes will be as follows:
’Lawyers, Guns and Honey’ – Explores the new global honey business, and largest food fraud investigation and prosecution in history—a scam known as Honeygate.
’The Peanut Problem’ – In the last twenty years, there’s been a surge of people suffering from severe food allergies. A look at the swelling body of science around this change, and the accountability of restaurateurs in caring for their most vulnerable customers.
’Garlic Breath’ – A lucrative and controversial commerce relationship between the US and China forms the backdrop for a David-and-Goliath tale of loyalty, betrayal and revenge on the American garlic scene.
’Big Bird’ – From the lowliest hen to the richest magnate, the size and scale of chicken-growing has determined the fate of every player in this expansive food chain.
’Milk Money’ – To boost profits, some dairy farmers are switching to produce upscale organic milk, or even “raw” unpasteurized milk, but it comes with the risk of pathogens which can sicken and even kill consumers.
’Cod is Dead’ – In the wake of overfishing in New England, the US government stepped in to regulate and save the fisheries. The unintended result was a wave of consolidation that set the stage for massive criminal exploitation.
The show will hit Netflix on 5 January. It’s not going to be an easy watch, but it will be a necessary one.