Fast Food Nation – UPDATE

In a prevous entry, I mentioned starting on the book Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. After looking at fast food employment practices (no skills + low wages + high turnover = disposable employees), Mr. Schlosser then turned to the companies supplying the fast food restaurants. I guess it wasn’t surprising to learn that the potato(e), poultry, and meat packing businesses are very big, and very few. With virtually no competition and little regulation all have become corporate monsters leeching as much as possible from ranchers, farmers, hatchers, and government tax breaks and incentives. Also, it appears that little has changed in meat packing since the days of Upton Sinclair’s The Jungle. The safety of the nations meat supply as well as the very dangerous working conditions in the industry should really make any carnivorous readers give pause to everything that brings hamburgers to their lips. Finally, the author discusses fast food and its correlation to rising obesity in this country as well as other countries who have been globalized by the American fast food phenomenon.

All in all, this was a very well researched book and at the very least should get any reader to at least appreciate the shear immensity and complexity of a seemingly simple drive-thru meal. But of course it goes much deeper than that, as the book hopes to show the enormous societal affects of this colossal industry. It is then left to the reader to determine if these affects are worth the super-sized quickie meals we’ve so quickly become accustomed to.

My own observations: for the $5 one might spend on a fast food meal, I can pickup several pounds of seasonal fresh fruit at the market. Not only is this just as ‘fast’, it is healthier, never gives me a bellyache, provides more than one meal, perhaps supports local farmers, AND has great juggling potential. Go ahead: I dare you to try to juggle a hamburger, fries, and softdrink!

Wow – it looks like there is hope for fast food. McDonalds will be phasing out supersize menu options. Here is the press release.


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4 responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    While making no comment what so ever towards the ethical treatment of the employees, and moo-cows of the McDonalds corporation, I must say that phasing out their supersize menu options at the whims of a couple fat people is a travesty that rocks the very foundation of our free society.

    Thousands more people die each year due of the carelessness of others in automobile accidents than by their own self-inflicted obesity.

    If you want to save lives: Outlaw cars not cheeseburgers ! (some people actually need the calories)

  2. scott says:

    Ha! I agree that outlawing cars would have a much stronger social effect. However, though de-supersizing the McDonald’s menu isn’t very significant by itself, it is a step in the right directon toward dealing with our country’s growing obesity epidemic. Slimming down the nation would save lives and lots of money from being tossed down the health care toilet.

  3. Anonymous says:

    “our country’s growing obesity epidemic” -The words of a true spin doctor!

    Epidemic is defined as: A widespread outbreak of an infectious disease; one in which many people of a common community are simultaneously infected.

    By said definition; this horrible infectious disease (that we call obesity) sounds like it’s contagious and spread via microorganisms / pathogens floating around in our air & water supply…. And we’ll never stop it from killing everyone unless we pass laws immediately that restrict and monitor our daily caloric consumption!

    Without laws protecting and restricting us, the only know vaccination for this horrific disease is the acknowledgement and practice of self-accountability. But we can’t have that in America; it would be absolutely ridiculous! Who would we sue ??

  4. Scott – I just heard about a new movie that you may want to see:
    It’s a documentary by one Morgan Spurlock (great name!) who decides to eat only McD’s for a month and otherwise explores the American fat crisis. From what little I’ve read, he seems to reach the same conclusions as you do in this debate.

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