During the past few days, my family and I visited an island and stayed in a cabin which belongs to my sister’s boyfriend’s family (if any have wondered where I have been in the last few days or so). On rainy days and during evenings, I found myself pursuing a book which the owners of the cabin had left there, entitled Fast Food Nation.
The book is an in-depth look into the fast food industry, primarily in America. It detailed what economic conditions caused it, where it is going, why it is powerful and what causes it to be powerful, as well as its manifold (and mostly negative) effects on society: ill health, poverty and crime amongst other things. It is very well-researched and, although not objective, it proves its point very effectively. The author even addresses criticism on the book (this is the third edition, with an added section on mad cow disease) from persons of opposing opinion to his and defends his claims beautifully. My sole noteworthy dislike of the book was its failure to provide a thorough look into the environmental effects of the industry.
Because of my diet, I eat virtually no fast food and dislike the industry for numerous reasons. Yet the book revealed many aspects of the industry which were hitherto unknown to me, and increased my dislike of it tenfold.
Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser is an easy and informative read and I highly recommend it, regardless of one’s opinion of the fast food industry.
I’ve seen it before, but have never read it…yeah, I can only imagine what environmental impact the industry has…and not only in the garbage it manufactures.
One rather disturbing book, Our Stolen Future, tells about the impact of hazardous chemicals on not only the environment, but humans as well. This is not only about DDT and everything that Rachel Carson addressed in Silent Spring, but such small things like a common additive of plastic that leeches out into food (ie, microwaving food in a plastic bowl) that can potentially lead to cancer. There’s also a website that picks up where the book left off.
Originally posted by Vorpy Uh, how does fast food cause poverty and crime? Also, I really don’t see what fast food has to do with mad cow disease.
Crime and Poverty: Fast food restaurants have been increasingly targets of robberies because there is ample amounts of cash present and, unlike banks, fast food restaurants have virtually no security. Secondly, the great demand for meat from the fast food industry has caused the commercial meat industry to make factory labour cheap because so much of it is needed. Most of these jobs are taken by poor migrants and are very badly paid (not to mention dangerous. In some towns and cities where meatpacking factories are present, whole areas of town have become inhabited by the migrant meatpackers, where crime runs rampant. Thus, although this problem is mainly that of the commercial meat industry, it is strongly connected with fast food production.
Mad cow disease: Mad cow disease has been linked to the unnatural feed which has been given to commercial beef (and other livestock); commercial beef feed includes chicken, sheep, beef and sometimes even cat and dog meat. Much of the meat industry in America seeks to produce meat as cheaply as possible and in largely quantities so to satisfy the enormous demand for meat caused by the fast food industry. Again, even though this is a problem in the meat industry, it is connected to fast food. Anyone who eats fast food is potentially under threat of this disease, because tainted beef has been sold in large quantities to fast food restaurants.
Originally posted by Sorcerer The crime and poverty connection is a bit sketchy…sounds like something of a long shot.
It may seem that way, but the author’s claim is backed by statistics. I can repeat the book for you, since I do not have it now, but that is what the author claims. Mind you, there are other details which I cannot recall. Crime and poverty may not be major problems linked to the fast food industry, but they do exist.
I eat stuff like fries and chicken (tenders, nuggets, etc.) but not often at fast food places. I’ve banned McDonald’s from my diet because I had a bad episode after eating some of their nuggets though.
What I found more interesting about the book is how fast food companies screw the consumer, the menial worker, and the managers of fast food restaurants. The fact that most managers have to buy MANY restaurants in different areas just to glean enough profit to LIVE is telling in itself.
Another interesting (although not really bad) fact is that McDonalds now fully relies on a computer to tell where the next McDonalds should appear.
Originally posted by Vorpy So…some of these problems are with the meat industry, not the fast food industry. I like chicken better anyway.
Yes, but those problems in the meatpacking industry are largely the result of the demand of the fast food industry for meat in bulk.
And I can tell you that the contents of commercial chicken feed do not differ greatly from those of commercial beef feed and that the commercial practices for chicken are no more sanitary.
Originally posted by Cybercompost What I found more interesting about the book is how fast food companies screw the consumer, the menial worker, and the managers of fast food restaurants. The fact that most managers have to buy MANY restaurants in different areas just to glean enough profit to LIVE is telling in itself.
That matter was of interest to me as well, although I had already guessed well at most the details on it in the book before I had read them, with perhaps some exception of how the fast food and meatpacking industries have contributed to the misfortune and decline for independent farmers and ranchers.
Another matter which proved of great interest to me were the alliances between the fast food and meatpacking corporations and various congressmen, mostly (but not exclusively) the Republican party. Although I had known thitherto somewhat about the lobbying practices of large corporations, I was intrigued by the details how they were hindering new safety measures for labourers from being imposed.
Originally posted by Skankin’ Garbage I own the book. Some of it’s nice, some of it is kinda farfetched and goofy. It can be an eye opener about some things, but on other subjects it’s just like “Uh…ok.”
What aspects of the book effected that sentiment, might I inquire?
Well, just reading through it, some things are kinda cool, like it is true that fast food sort of makes a monopoly, and I don’t like that. But, on the other hand, it sort of helps the economy in the way that people spend a LOT of fucking money on fast food and other things related to fast food chains (Like McKids for example). I found it silly at the end of his little spiel about Karl Carcher that he seemed upset at Karl’s enjoyment of the progress that Anaheim had made (“When I came here, these were dirt roads, now they’re streets.” Something to that effect, he said). I’m just like, duh, yeah he’s gonna be pleased.
Also, fast food can only make this monopoly cos it’s there, and it happens to serve the most basic need of humans - food. It’s fast, and it’s (to most people) delicious. If for some reason, fast food were banned from the United States, you can bet your ass that some other industry would monopolize in the United States. Who knows which one, but one would. But it won’t though - people want fast food, lots of people do. And that’s why its so successful. It’s kinda like how we pay a shitload of money to professional athletes which serve in no real purpose to better the lives of americans in any other way but entertainment, when it could be spent on something else much more important to a nation as a whole, like say, medicinal research. That’s just how people are. If we get rid of something like that, we’re just gonna spend all that money on something else that will eventually do the exact same thing.
So big deal. If you like fast food, eat it up, if you don’t like it, don’t. The oh-so malevolent grip that fast food has on the world is here to stay.