Fast Food Nation

Eric Schlosser, Fast Food Nation. The Dark Side of the All-American Meal – e-book

Read from July 1st to 17th 2014

My rating: 4/ 5 stars


"Non à MacMerde"

I’ve always indignantly asked whoever cared to listen how come America, the all powerful America, that banished smoking and prohibited alcohol in the name of public health, does not seem to see the close relationship between obesity (the second cause of mortality in the USA) and fast food and lets fast food industry flourish.

I’d already guessed the reason, but after reading Schlosser’s book I know for sure. And so will you, if you’re interested in the subject, for there is a lot of accurate information of how the fast food chains and the meat industry gained their power and controlled the market until they became a symbol of modern American civilization, to be envied and followed by other nations:

 Simply eating at a McDonald's in Beijing seems to elevate a person's social status. The idea that you are what you eat has been enthusiastically promoted for years by Den Fujita, the eccentric billionaire who brought McDonald's to Japan three decades ago. "If we eat McDonald's hamburgers and potatoes for a thousand years," Fujita once promised his countrymen, "we will become taller, our skin will become white, and our hair will be blonde."

Like the huge epidemics in the past, fast food chains are continually spreading, killing people all around the world, for obesity is an illness as fatal as any other incurable disease:

In China, the proportion of overweight teenagers has roughly tripled in the past decade. In Japan, eating hamburgers and French fries has not made people any blonder, though it has made them fatter. Overweight people were once a rarity in Japan.

Moreover, often fast food is contaminated with E-coli or Salmonella, since the process of meat preparation resembles nowadays to a factory assembly line where speed is more important than hygiene. I never liked hamburgers, but after reading what I after learnt to be probably the most quoted line in the book…

There is shit in the meat

…nobody will ever convince me to taste one again.

There are many disturbing facts in “Fast Food Nation”, like improper conditions of working in slaughterhouses and meatpacking companies, the savage exploitation of illegal immigrants and / or almost illiterate workers, the pressure of politicians who create or block laws to defend their own interest in the industry, the alarming lack of protection of children’s health by not only permitting but even encouraging the entry of fast food in schools’ cafeterias whilst heavily advertising it in front of them, the rubbish cattle and poultry eat (like dead pigs and dead horses), the rubbish in the ground meat (which brings “far more fecal bacteria in the average American kitchen sink than on the average American toilet seat”), etc.

All that should warn us of the danger not only of the consequences of bad eating but also of carelessly ignoring the fast food influence on our society, from health to economics, politics and even aesthetics. Are we truly intended to be remembered, for generations to come, as that dark age of fat people who never cared what they put in their mouth? Wake up, people, says Eric Schlosser all along his disquieting study, speak up, don’t let yourself slaughtered on the table of big profit and low esteem of the huge companies. You have the power to stop it, do it before it is too late:

Pull open the glass door, feel the rush of cool air, walk inside, get in line, and look around you, look at the kids working in the kitchen, at the customers in their seats, at the ads for the latest toys, study the backlit color photographs above the counter, think about where the food came from, about how and where it was made, about what is set in motion by every single fast food purchase, the ripple effect near and far, think about it. Then place your order. Or turn and walk out the door. It's not too late. Even in this fast food nation, you can still have it your way.

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