Fast Food Nation

December 27, 2012
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Escape with me from beyond-freezing North America to the Caribbean for a moment. You are lying on the soft, white sand while the sun smiles upon you. But through the warmth and comfort, you try to ignore the burns that you are starting to feel on your shoulders and nose. You know that you should really put on sunscreen, but you also know that you are simply way too comfortable to move.

But the point of this anecdote wasn’t to remind you how much you miss summer; it was to illustrate our tendency to ignore the things that we know are right or better for us. Sometimes, we want to stay asleep with our eyes closed, but often, what we really need something to come along and wake us up. And this applies to our association with the animal food products industry.

An earth-shaking book that revealed truths about the American food industry, particularly the fast food industry, was Fast Food Nation. It was written in 2001 by Eric Schlosser, an investigative journalist. Schlosser discussed the dominance of immigrant workers and the danger of working in a slaughterhouse – injury rates remain higher in this job than in any other in the country.

Schlosser also analyzed the real processes of meat handling. These hazardous practices included the “rendered waste removal” procedure, which refers to the feeding of dead animals to living ones, and the spread of diseases such as E. coli and mad cow disease. Fast Food Nation sparked national awakening to the fast food and meat industries. People were blasted with not only a health wake-up call, but new information about the effect of meat on popular culture, such as the relation between meat-consuming institutions such as McDonald’s with the media and Hollywood.

The public also became more aware of the exploitation and targeting of children, especially through advertising. Fast Food Nation received positive reviews from all over the political spectrum, and the website was created in direct response to the book. Fast Food Nation opened our eyes to truth and reality. The information spread by this revolutionary book is yet another factor in our choice of whether we do or do not want to be associated with the industry of animal food products.

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