When people hear the term “food writing,” they usually picture a snobby restaurant critic, a hipster blogging about urban agriculture, or a middle-aged mom writing a cocktail column for a local newspaper. But some food writers do more than just share recipes and review food trucks. When food writing and investigative journalism collide, you get a group of journalists who fulfill a civic duty and dig deep to learn about the food that the public is eating.
We’ve all seen, or at least heard of, the behind-the-scenes books and documentaries that show us farms where the United States’ corn is grown, or where livestock is raised. But these are often sponsored by the corporations being shown on screen, and can often be biased.
Independent journalists report on the food industry in the same way that they investigate politics or economics; they uncover fraud and answer to their readers, not to huge corporations. Some examples of organizations that employ investigative journalists to reveal what goes on in the food industry are listed below.