Fast Food Nation

February 9, 2009
By Anonymous

Fast Food Nation

After producing the largest feedback of any work published in Rolling Stone in the early 1990's, Schlosser's two-page spread on the fast food industry became an all encompassing novel that exposed the not so happy history behind the 'happy meal' and other fast food products and phenomena. Probing much deeper than most Americans can sometimes stomach, Eric Schlosser's novel Fast Food Nation takes the reader on a journey that reveals just how far fast food has altered life as we know it. The novel picks up in 1937 in Anaheim, California where Schlosser describes the creation of the first fast food restaurant, 'McDonalds Speedee Service System' and how it quickly changed the times, from the demographics of the consumers in the restaurant industry to the construction of the California interstate highway system. Schlosser continues to expose how in the next 60 years fast food has touched all aspects of life, with the informative style of an experienced journalist supported by intense research and statistics, but still kept interesting with his use of personal anecdotes from those whose lives have been most directly shaped from the fast food industry, ranging from corporate executives to illegal immigrant factory workers.

It seems Schlosser's main motivation for his novel was to show the general population the many consequences of their actions every time they eat fast food from unhealthy weight gain to supporting a regime that exploits the rugged, individualist farmers that started our nation. Schlosser goes on to point out that these are only a few of many negative effects of the fast food industry, from the industrialization of the farms and meat packing plants to the uniform management of the low skilled restaurant employees. As Schlosser continues to expose the dark side of the fast food industry he makes some serious charges against corporate executives from the major fast food companies; advertising to children, severely restricting the freedom of franchise owners, abusing a labor pool of young, inexperienced immigrants by refusing to offer benefits, and replacing workers before any sort of unionization can develop. Digging deeper, Schlosser unveils that while companies are often committing the worst abuses to their adolescent employees in order to increase profits, they are at the same time receiving billions of dollars in subsidies from the government for absent 'training'.

Schlosser's argument that the food industry is willingly putting people at risk to make a higher profit is cemented with such concrete facts and gut wrenching images that make even the 'heavy consumers' think twice about ordering their next Big Mac. Facts like since the 1960's when meat-packing plants were updated with assembly lines to allow for the hire of less skilled workers, one individual hamburger patty is easily made up of meat from hundreds of cows creating more danger than is realized of becoming ill or even dying from E. coli. Schlosser's novel in general stands out in that it is the most researched, supported, and technical novel up to date exposing the underpinnings of the fast food industry, while still remaining an easy read for the general populous.

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