Fast Food Nation

You are what you eat. But do you really know what you’re eating?

“Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal” (2002) is a book by a journalist Eric Schlosser that examines the local and global influence of the United States fast food industry.

This book tells the story of America and the world’s love for fast food, from its origins (in 195o’s southern California) until present days . Eric Schlosser visits the labs where scientists use chemicals to re-create the smell and taste of everything (from cooked meat to fresh strawberries); talks to the workers; explains where the meat comes from; why the fries taste so good; and looks at the way the fast food industry is changing our diet but our landscape, economy, workforce and culture.

In the opening pages of ”Fast Food Nation,” Eric Schlosser makes a series of observations about McDonald’s:

– The company operates about 28,000 restaurants around the world.

– It’s the nation’s biggest buyer of beef, pork and potatoes.

– the world’s biggest owner of retail property.

– The company is one of the country’s top toy distributors and its largest private operator of playgrounds.

– Ninety-six percent of American schoolchildren can identify Ronald McDonald.

– Roughly one of every eight workers in the United States has done time at the chain.

– The McDonald’s brand is the most famous, and the most promoted, on the planet.

Americans spend more money on fast food than on higher education, personal computers, computer software or new cars. Every month more than 90 percent of American children eat at McDonald’s; the average American eats three hamburgers and four orders of french fries every week.

What’s in all those hamburgers?

They’re most likely made from the meat of the least healthy cattle stock. Each burger contains parts of dozens or even hundreds of cows.

What’s more, the values the fast-food industry spreads:

– Hostility to workers’ rights.

– Dehumanizing emphasis on mass production and uniformity at the expense of meaningful worker training and autonomy.

– They invest large sums of money to design equipment that requires as little skill as possible to operate.

– Fast-food companies accept hundreds of millions of dollars in government subsidies for “training” their workers, through programs intended to reward companies that teach job skills to the poor.

Schlosser also tells of the fast-food industry’s efforts to sell their food directly to kids. He’s especially interested in the alliance between McDonald’s and Disney. Two corporations are united in their determination to enter the imaginations of small children. 96% of American children recognize Ronald McDonald.

Schlosser also tells about the rise of “sponsorships” to cover shortfalls in school budgets in the state of Colorado. Fast-food companies are the leadres of this new marketing strategy, by putting hallway ads and banners in schools, as well as branded educational materials in classrooms.

Eric Schlosser about his book

Eric Schlosser’s inspired Morgan Spurlock, an American independent filmmaker, to make a documentary film “Super Size Me”  (2004).

Spurlock’s film follows a 30-day period from 1st February to 2nd March, 2003 during which he ate only McDonald’s food. The film documents drastic effect on Spurlock’s physical and psychological state, and explores the fast food industry’s influence – how it encourages poor nutrition for its own profit.

As a result, the then-32-year-old Spurlock gained 11.1 kg, a 13% body mass increase, a cholesterol level of 230, experienced mood swings, and fat accumulation in his liver. It took Spurlock fourteen months to lose the weight gained from his experiment using a vegan diet supervised by his future wife, a chef who specializes in vegan dishes.

Supersize Me full movie


Creative Commons License
This work by EnglishOŠAca is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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