Thursday, April 19, 2007

Fast Food Nation

Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser
$9.42 at ISBN: 0060838582
This outstanding work of investigative journalism is one book everyone should read. Schlosser considers the fast food industry and how it's impacted American life. He does a great job of showing you sides of the business you've probably never considered before. It's not just about how a Quarter Pounder Value Meal isn't good for you and will make you fat.
For example, there's a brilliant chapter on the marketing tactics McDonalds and other such companies use to get you behind a plastic lunch tray. Junk food marketing firms target children as young as two years old, as a result children often recognize Ronald McDonald and other corporate icons before they learn to speak or walk. Such subtle techniques illicit what Madison Avenue calls "the seven types of whining"; inducing children to exchange love for their parents for Happy Meals.
Brainwashing our youngest and most susceptible citizens, however, is just the beginning. Forever an opponent of a Living Wage and workers' rights, the fast food business has suppressed all efforts to regulate their hiring practices, and has shut entire franchises down to prevent employees from forming unions. Conditions in the beef slaughterhouses seem to have changed little since Upton Sinclair wrote , The Jungle, criticizing the meat industry in 1905. Workers are often injured or killed on the overheated, steam-filled killing floors. Not to mention the millions of cows slaughtered each year to quench the American craving for cheap meat.
You'll learn a lot from this book: about the chemical flavor industry filling our food with unnatural poisons to make it taste better, about the potatoes that make the french fries, and a host of other subjects. Schlosser's easy-going writing style will keep you glued to the page until your disgust and outrage tear you away. Educate yourself, please, before you buy one more Big Mac or Chicken Nugget! The author has a truly uncanny gift for making something so outrageous fun to read.

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