It’s no surprise that Instagram posts of beautiful meals and reviews of the world’s best restaurants have become an increasingly popular means of self-expression. But the beauty of that plated perfection is in complete contrast to the scary truths behind the global food industry—an industry that is uncovered in “Food Exposed with Nelufar Hedayat.”
The new eight-part docuseries premieres Tuesday, March 27 @ 8PM ET/PT on FUSION. Find out where to watch here.
In the eye-opening series award-winning journalist Nelufar Hedayat pulls back the curtain on what we don’t know about the water we drink or the food we eat. She examines the origin stories of our favorite ingredients and the regulations (or lack thereof) that drive our global food chain. It’s a big business shaped by our appetites in a very literal sense.
Trekking over 175,000 miles as part of the investigation, Nelufar tackles the subject matter first hand—dumpster diving in New York’s Greenwich Village to illustrate the scale of food waste; traveling to the Artic Circle’s Global Seed Vault to explore why traditional crops are being abandoned in favor of GMOs; visiting an Indian tribe nestled below California’s iconic Mount Shasta where water diversion schemes are threatening people’s very way of life; and sees residents near Central America’s largest rubbish dump as they are forced to scavenge food in order to survive. In West Africa, Nel heads out with Whale Wars activists to see how locals are priced out of their own food by those operating outside the law; she meets with local US farmers who can no longer compete in a dairy industry where best practices includes dumping 43 million pounds of fluid milk in manure pits and rivers in 2016; she travels to the Hudson Valley where a power plant’s environmental impact has residents concerned and fighting back; and in North Carolina, Nel looks at the state’s growing hog population - where animals are forced to live in filthy and often times disease-ridden conditions and investigates how these businesses are impacting both the environment and the local community.
Throughout her journey, Nel is joined by outspoken celebrity activists including Nicole Richie, James Cromwell (“The Young Pope”), Jordana Brewster (Fast & Furious ), recording artist Moby, Dominic Monaghan (“LOST,” Lord of the Rings), Amy Smart and Oscar winner Jeremy Irons as they voice their concerns about corruption, environmental destruction and collusion between governments and big business.
In revealing the true cost of food to people, animals and the planet, this ambitious and sometimes shocking docuseries explores the future of food, how we’re going to feed our rapidly expanding population and gives a platform to the voiceless who are doing what they can to make a difference to future generations.
Covering topics such as fish, dairy, water, GMOs, superfoods, palm oil and pork, the first episode of Food Exposed tackles “Waste.” Nelufar travels to the U.S. where nearly a quarter of food is thrown in the trash and a shocking 40 percent is wasted overall—this while nearly 50 million Americans struggle with hunger. In fact, just 15 percent of the annual food waste in America could feed 25 million people, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council.
In the premiere episode, Nel joins freegans on a New York Trash Tour – an event that highlights how much food is being dumped by retail establishments every single day. In trash bins across Greenwich Village, Nelufar pulls out perfectly good albeit slightly blemished produce, frozen foods, astonishing amounts of unopened and edible sushi, bags full of baked goods, and smoothies still frozen, all moments away from a future in a local landfill. And she speaks to a mother who confesses how much of the produce she buys at the local farmers market gets tossed, week in and week out.
In Los Angeles, Nelufar meets up with an environmental organization, Feedback, and actor/activist Nicole Richie, to participate in a Feeding the 5000 event in LA’s Pershing Square. Here, volunteers cook up a feast made entirely from food that otherwise would have gone to waste. And thousands of miles away in Guatemala, Nel learns of the tragic reality that while some are surviving by scavenging food from Central America’s largest trash dump, farmers just 50 miles away are rejecting almost half their produce because it fails to meet the West’s stringent cosmetic standards.
“Food Exposed with Nelufar Hedayat” is a FUSION Original Series produced in conjunction with Lightbox. Executive producers are Simon Chinn, Jonathan Chinn, Sam Collyns, and Suzanne Lavery for Lightbox and Keith Summa, George Lansbury, and Daniel Eilemberg for FUSION.
Nelufar Hedayat is a correspondent for FUSION. In 2016, she hosted the network’s award-winning series “The Traffickers” which followed illegal trades of precious minerals, counterfeit drugs, endangered species and even people around the globe. Most recently, she reported on the domestic crisis and human rights issues surrounding the shocking maternal mortality rates in the U.S. for the one-hour FUSION documentary, “The Naked Truth: Death by Delivery.” Having fled war-torn Afghanistan as a child herself, Nelufar’s work has often focused on cultural upheaval experienced by women, children and families in conflict ridden societies.
The unique way the series covered a bold range of subjects with incredible depth of research and investigative efforts heralded the team a raft of awards and nominations. These included International Affairs award at the Association of International Broadcasters 2017 and Best Investigation at the Asian Media Awards 2017 and also the coveted Reporter/Correspondent Gracie Award (the Alliance for Women in Media) and Journalist of the Year at the Asian Media Awards. Individual episodes including Killed for a Horn and Fake Parma were finalists for awards including the Edward J. Meeman Award for Environmental Reporting at the Scripps Howard Awards 2017 and the Livingston Awards. As a result of her reporting in Organs for Sale, Nelufar Hedayat was invited to the Vatican, to the Summit of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences to report on her findings and as a signatory on the Resolution on Organ Trafficking, which has recently been ratified by the Council of Europe.
Prior to her work with Fusion, Nelufar worked across the BBC, Channel 4 and The Guardian. Her work has often focused on the cultural upheaval experienced by women, children and families in conflict zones and hostile places. In 2015, Nelufar was nominated for Journalist of the Year at the British Asian Media Awards following her Unreported World report, Vaccination Wars, which was also nominated in the Best Investigation category. In this eye opening film she met the health workers risking their lives to vaccinate children against polio in Pakistan, where the Taliban actively target and kill polio health workers. In her first Unreported World, Vietnam’s Dog Snatchers, she investigated how dog thieves are making millions in the highly lucrative and illegal dog meat trade and are stealing thousands of pet dogs from family homes to meet demand. Nelufar was also a reporter for Channel 4 News, covering domestic issues for the programme. In the six years Nelufar worked for the BBC, she presented, co-produced and wrote documentaries for television and radio, including the award winning Women, Weddings, War and Me, Shot for Going to School and Music, Money & Hip Hop Honeys. She also presented and hosted the flagship live news programme Newsround which is aimed at younger audiences for 3 years, winning an award for her short film The Kids of Kabul made for the programme.
Nelufar has produced and written radio documentaries and features for BBC Radio 4 on Afghan child suicide bombers and on faith and marriage for BBC 1Xtra and the current refugee crisis in Syria and Lebanon. Nelufar speaks four languages including Farsi, Hindi and Dari.
From going deep on cultural obsessions to telling impactful stories that inspire and connect us, FUSION is a network that serves up a unique blend of programming that reflects the passions and shared values of America’s diverse youth. FUSION’s Creative Board is made up of a cross-section of marquee talent including award-winning actors, filmmakers, academics, and musicians who share the network’s commitment to seeking out the next generation of creative talent and emerging voices. Henry Louis Gates Jr. serves as the Chairman of the Creative Board. FUSION is available to audiences across a range of platforms including cable television (find out where to watch), FUSION.net, and various OTT providers such as Apple TV, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Chromecast, PlayStation Vue, among others. Follow the network on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. FUSION is a part of Fusion Media Group (FMG), which has put some of the web’s most beloved brands under one roof including Gizmodo, Deadspin, Jezebel, Kotaku, Jalopnik, Lifehacker, The Root, and Splinter as well as The Onion, The A.V. Club, and ClickHole. FMG is one of the leading digital publishers in the U.S., serving over 100 million readers a month—more than one-third of all Americans. FMG produces long-form content through FMG Studios, which includes Story House Entertainment and Onion Studios. More at theFMG.com.