Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser

Posted on June 17, 2009. Filed under: Books, Personal Reviews |

I’ve been deeply into non-fiction as of late and this was a great book to fill my appetite (pun intended). I believe that Schlosser’s goal for this book is to somewhat create reform, to bring about change, to encourage people to think freely and to stand up for what’s right, for everyone.  This is a book that has created a bit of a fuss and rightly so. It highlights the social and economic injustices that are created indirectly through the fast food giants. Food is something that defines a culture and a nation. Germans are known for traditional German dishes just as Italians are known for their pasta, but what are Americans known for? Hot Dogs, Hamburgers and McDonalds apparently. Schlosser has noted that McDonalds is a large symbol of America and world-wide just like Coca-Cola breathes America, but America is not always benefiting from this wonderful association.

Schlosser investigated the process from the fields to factory to McDonalds tray and was shocked at what was uncovered. Reading this book I was surprised to learn that the social injustices Upton Sinclair mentioned in The Jungle have not all been remedied in today’s society. It’s surprising that Government (both parties are equally guilty) still allow the meat packing and fast food industries to control most of their own laws and regulation. How can these industries be adequately regulated if the corporations are defining the regulations themselves? It seems that this is an ever growing problem and really makes me think twice before I buy any products from large corporations. If there wasn’t a green movement promoting buying locally already this book would surely make that option a very appealing one for different but similar reasons. It seems that Schlosser uncovered that behind most of the companies products is the almighty dollar, and to these companies we are a paycheck, and a profit. The regulations these companies want imposed promote little regulation, if any, they are strongly against OSHA standards, worker safety and worker unions and most importantly these companies are against testing that would ensure a better product is sold to consumers. This book points out the many ways that consumer safety is at risk from the counter of Wendy’s to your local meat freezer in your food store.

It’s disgusting that profits are more important than consumer safety and it’s even more upsetting that the law makers knowingly allow this and the consumers continue to support these industries. I agree that cutting out meat, vegetables and fast food is not the solution to the problem but lobbying your local government offices and trying to buy as local as possible may encourage these companies to raise their standards. Schlosser made a point that really stood out with me as I read the conclusion to his book – there are more consumers and workers than there are CEOs of these fast food giants and corrupt industries; the power is still in the consumer’s hand to demand change, safety and fairness, we have to demand a quality product from these companies otherwise they will continue to sell us sub-standard products at a higher cost to us – Americans deserve better.

This book is definitely eye-opening and makes us really focus and learn about our food from an angle we were happy to be in the dark about. Unfortunately knowing where your food came from is not always pleasant but I don’t think it has to be that way.


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One Response to “Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser”

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I was thinking about picking up this book, now I’ll definitely have to. We really do need to start opening our eyes and pay attention to what we are putting into our bodies and to where the money we are spending is going.

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