Fast Food Nation

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On any given day, one out of four Americans opts for a quick and cheap meal at a fast-food restaurant, without giving either its speed or its thriftiness a second thought. Fast food is so ubiquitous that it now seems as American, and harmless, as apple pie. But the industry's drive for consolidation, homogenization, and speed has radically transformed America's diet, landscape, economy, and workforce, often in insidiously destructive ways. Eric Schlosser, an award-winning journalist, opens his ambitious and ultimately devastating expos®¶ with an introduction to the iconoclasts and high school dropouts, such as Harlan Sanders and the McDonald brothers, who first applied the principles of a factory assembly line to a commercial kitchen. Quickly, however, he moves behind the counter with the overworked and underpaid teenage workers, onto the factory farms where the potatoes and beef are grown, and into the slaughterhouses run by giant meatpacking corporations. Schlosser wants you to know why those French fries taste so good (with a visit to the world's largest flavor company) and "what really lurks between those sesame-seed buns." Eater beware: forget your concerns about cholesterol, there is--literally--feces in your meat.

Schlosser's investigation reaches its frightening peak in the meatpacking plants as he reveals the almost complete lack of federal oversight of a seemingly lawless industry. His searing portrayal of the industry is disturbingly similar to Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, written in 1906: nightmare working conditions, union busting, and unsanitary practices that introduce E. coli and other pathogens into restaurants, public schools, and homes. Almost as disturbing is his description of how the industry "both feeds and feeds off the young," insinuating itself into all aspects of children's lives, even the pages of their school books, while leaving them prone to obesity and disease. Fortunately, Schlosser offers some eminently practical remedies. "Eating in the United States should no longer be a form of high-risk behavior," he writes. Where to begin? Ask yourself, is the true cost of having it "your way" really worth it? --Lesley Reed

Fast food has hastened the malling of our landscape, widened the chasm between rich and poor, fueled an epidemic of obesity, and propelled American cultural imperialism abroad. That's a lengthy list of charges, but Eric Schlosser makes them stick with an artful mix of first-rate reportage, wry wit, and careful reasoning.

Schlosser's myth-shattering survey stretches from California's subdivisions, where the business was born, to the industrial corridor along the New Jersey Turnpike, where many of fast food's flavors are concocted. Along the way, he unearths a trove of fascinating, unsettling truths -- from the unholy alliance between fast food and Hollywood to the seismic changes the industry has wrought in food production, popular culture, and even real estate.

Customer Reviews:

  • A thought provoking read. Definite muckraking, but possibly life changing.
    I've taught FFN a few times, sometimes switching it out with Cadillac Desert. FFN has a lot of information, most of which may be new to readers. It has become an industry of its own, and since Morgan Spurlock's Supersize Me, more people have become aware of these issues. While Supersize me is a rock 'n roll, fast-paced, in-your-face romp through issues of nutrition, Schlosser's book is a much more thoroughly researched and encyclopedic take on all aspects of fast food, from the agricultural practices that support fast food, to the nutrition, to the advertising, to the impacts on children (obesity and brainwashing), to the impact on the landscape and architecture, to the globalization of the American lifestyle. It is an easier read that it may seem from this review because most all of the references are in end notes, so his research never gets in the way of the story. This is good and bad. It makes it an easy read, but it makes it hard to evaluate his copious research. As an academic, I do have bones to pick with some of his sources, but these are relatively few, and I have a few more sources I would suggest in support.

    If anyone is thinking it, the book is not a novelization of the film. The film is a fictionalized narrative based on the research in this book. An interesting note is that the slaughterhouse scenes in the film were taken in an actual slaughterhouse, in Mexico, if I remember correctly. ...more info
  • Fast Food Nation
    Possibly my favorite nonfiction work of all time. Fast Food Nation is full of facts but reads like a novel. Scholosser is similar to John McFee or Bill Bryson in that while talking about facts, studies and statistic, he can so engross you with what he's discussing that you never notice you're learning something. Fast Food Nation is a more academic, though again highly readable, version of Morgan Spurlock's "Don't Eat this Book" or his film "Supersize Me." However while Spurlock targets McDonalds specifically and focuses on the health issues which arise in that restaurants frequent patrons, Scholosser takes a more objective, though similarly disturbing, look at "Big Food" in it's entirety. The book covers a number of diverse issues beneath the big food umbrella such as marketing to children, treatment of employees, customer loyalty, chain histories, founder philosophy and much more. The author does a good job at giving you just the right amount of required background information and interesting side facts to keep the book flowing and, like the best expos®¶s, leaves you with a feeling of having formed an opinion on your own based on piled evidence and not simply through sheer force of the author's persistent will. ...more info
  • Eye Opening
    After reading the book, I became so appalled at the thought of eating fast food again. It's not just about health either. The sad and horrific stories about how factory workers were treated and their working conditions will wake you up. One often knows how bad fast food is, but until you read this, you won't really know just how BAD it is....more info
  • Informative & Entertaining, But A Little Off-Target
    According to this book, slaughterhouses are unpleasant places to work, and often injury-prone. Eric Schlosser relates some anecdotes and statistical data to back this observation up, among others of similar obviousness.

    It's interesting, to read about the meat packing industry, or the development of mass-produced frozen french fries. I'm glad I did. But what all of this does *not* amount to is a savage, or well-developed, indictment of the fast food industry.

    Instead, Schlosser presents a world with almost an endless supply of villains, only a few of which are actually a Wendy's, Subway, or Burger King. The meat-packers promote line-speed over the safety of their workers; agri-business colludes to keep the prices down of their growers; scientists design food-additives with unpronounceable (and, therefore, scary) names; advertising agencies target our children; machinists design equipment that increase efficiency, making work more and more unskilled; governments work in collusion with private industry, opening up our schools to advertisements; etc. Perhaps the meat-packing industry has developed in the way it has to take advantage of the fast food industry's explosive popularity and subsequent demands. And, yes, Schlosser makes the point that fast food execs could "insist on changes" in their supplier industries (and, in fact, sometimes they do). But on the whole, the problems that Schlosser finds in these industries are general problems that can be found throughout nearly all large industries, and the world over.

    He finds a young, un-unionized work-force. He finds robberies and crime. He finds unsanitary working conditions. He finds communities changing, and losing their one-time local identities. He finds workplace injuries. He finds the threat of disease. He finds poverty. He finds incompetent government bureaucracies. He finds greedy executives, and children swayed by targeted advertising.

    But these are not problems of fast food alone, and they cannot all be laid at the doorstep of Ray Kroc. Indeed, often fast food comes out more of the hero in this book than not; it provides higher quality meat than our school's cafeterias and employs the young and minority workers who might not otherwise be able to find jobs. The fast food companies, themselves, wind up curbing the worst excesses of the industries that market to them. And because they are so sensitive to market pressures, we find that McDonalds spearheads efforts to "go green," or eliminate genetically modified food, even when not prompted by social campaigns or legislation (even if Schlosser never feels that they go far enough).

    I'm sad to hear of the rancher who commits suicide due to market pressures working against independent cattlemen such as himself. But the connection between that rancher's depression, and Carl Karcher's decision to expand from Hot Dog carts to restaurants is... slender, at best, and probably, actually, non-existent. In the end, the litany of problems that Schlosser identifies in this book are often horrible, I'll agree, but they are problems that are endemic to large-scale human organization, in both the public and private sector, and the reality of modern-day economics. (And some of the "problems" aren't even really problems, such as the racial integration of Colorado Springs and other mid-west communities, brought about by the low-skill job opportunities presented by McDonalds, et al.; Schlosser links such immigration to rises in crime, etc., but that seems to me to be a fairly close-minded attitude, and close to bigotry.)

    This is a well-written and fascinating book, filled with tid-bits of history that I wouldn't have learned otherwise, and I enjoyed it enough to give it four stars. But, as an "expose" on the fast food industry, it falls short, and cannot reach to the fifth....more info
  • Great Expose
    Even before Super Size Me hit the market, Eric Scholessler was criticizing the fast food industry. It is not all about the food itself being risky or of a low quality. The industry itself exploits farms, slaughter-house workers, high school student workers and small business people. Not to mention the risk of getting injured, robbed or shot. Fast Food Nation is a real eye opener what the fast food industry does to children, our health and its workers. After reading Fast Food Nation, I avoid those places even more.

    Doug Setter, author of Stomach Flattening and One Less Victim...more info
  • Everyone should read this book
    Fascinating book that delves deeply into how that hamburger, potato chip or cookie made its way into your home and stomach. These are things most of us have wondered about, but never really knew or cared why. A section of the book is dedicated to how that cookie or barbeque sauce got its flavor in a labratory and helps explain those long list of weird ingredients we never really understood or wanted to know about. That is all there really is to say about this book. If you want to know where all those items on your supermarket shelf and fast food restaraunts came from, read it. If you have any sort of conscience and would rather not know and enjoy the foods you eat, run away. If you are one of the many overweight Americans, this might give you some insight as to why your diet is a problem. This was made into a movie, that summarized the book, but left out tons of things as most movies do. Watching the movie would give you a very basic idea of what to expect.

    While this paragraph does not cover the book review a real lot, I want to pass on how it has changed my life; I was overweight due to fast foods, crappy snacks, soda and inactivity. I thought drinking Vitamin Water was healthy. I dont know if could eat fast food anymore knowing the suffering that went into a 1 dollar hamburger. Ok, I might on a rare occasion, but the book even mentions that these fast food restaurants are really designed for a 1-2 times a week visit from the executives of these companies. For 2 weeks now I went to mostly organic foods, fruit and vegetables, water and less bread. I have had filet mignon and meatloaf 1 time each. Its not hard with a little effort. I exercised with a treadmill and video. I lost 10 pounds from 203 to 193 at 5' 10" and 43 years old.

    I would like to thank the author for changing my life, which was no easy feat to accomplish....more info
  • Informative and Eye-Opening
    I read this book to become more familiar with the fast food industry which is so easy to choose these days. As a busy wife and mother, it is so much easier to drive through somewhere than to cook at home. But I knew that I needed to be informed about my choices and so I read this book. It was very informative, clear, easy to understand. Very blunt in describing the fast food situation. It gave me a good perspective to remember as I choose what my family will eat for dinner. It made the fast food choices not quite as tempting as I realized what I was consuming. A definite read. Better to make an informed choice about what we eat, than to blindly assume that the food we are sold is worth eating. ...more info
  • If you've ever eaten a hamburger and can read, then you shouldn't go another day without reading this book.
    This book a little difficult to read in the first chapters as they tend to remind me of old text books from highschool filled with history and facts that don't seem to affect me, but I trudged on. I'm very grateful that I did. Once you begin to realize how these mundane somewhat trivial facts begin to turn into corporate deception, lack of humanity and a threat to our very way of life, your eyes will open and you'll begin to understand the need for everyone to be made aware of these atrocities against Americans and other cultures around the world. We spend our days backseat driving our politicians and football players while something we take for granted is quietly taking control of our diet and stealing our health from us while we pay them to do it.

    If you have ever eaten a hamburger or a french fry and you can read, you shouldn't go another day of your life with blinders on. READ THIS BOOK. It may save your life and the lives of your grandchildren someday....more info
  • A Fascinating Expose
    Fast Food Nation is a book that will definitely make you think and equally give you something to talk about. The information gathered here is fascinating and only on rare occasion does it ever get preachy.

    I absolutely loved this book. Even the sections that presented content that was at points, difficult to swallow. The research done was absolutely exhaustive and the perspectives gathered, incredibly well rounded and diverse.

    "Fast Food is heavily marketed to children and prepared by people who are barely older than children. This is an industry that both feeds and feeds off the young."

    Schlosser is an excellent words smith that presents a history and perspective of the fast food industry with eloquence. The information is as captivating at times as it is repulsive at others.

    A must read for anyone interested in food in the slightest. And they way in which Schlosser's story builds is fantastic. Brick by brick, he bucks his way through the sordid details of reprehensible collection of industries that extend well beyond the fast food industry itself.


    ...more info
  • If I tried to submit this as a dissertation...
    ... I should hope they wouldn't let me pass -- that is, until I removed the sensational, isolated-case examples, the sneering defamation, the outright deception... See p. 125 "typical strawberry shake" ingredients, cf. Fenaroli's Handbook and the actual ingredients of a McDonald's shake -- nothing you don't already consume regularly in many other foods, including "organics" and public water (you can look up the "chemicals" yourself).

    Far be it from me to defend fast food or take up any other sort of bandwagon cause. Do this: go to two or three local McDonald's, find out where their supply trucks come from, trace them back to the distributors and processing contractors. In my case, it's Keystone Foods, LLC, in PA. A rather anti-climatic trip when I all I could find were shiny facilities and scarcely a bloody hand.

    Or buy a few hamburgers, take them to your local university chemistry lab for analysis. This is a completely un-exciting exercise with un-sensational results. It's beef like you'd buy at the supermarket, from slaughtered animals, as animals have been slaughtered for millennia -- flesh torn from bone with sharp stones, hacking some bone, some extraneous other stuff in there.

    Of course maybe you live in that scary composite land where every bad thing that ever happened anywhere happens there on a regular basis. I want to visit this place. It's so dull around here.

    Sinclair did Schlosser's work already, before generations of journalists like Schlosser discovered they too could weave facts and visions of moral superiority (with a lot of selective economic ignorance) into gold. Mm, well maybe that's my moral superiority peeping through.

    Anyway, I'm glad my professors make a distinction between research and sensational data collection. ...more info
  • Mildly Interesting but Intellectually Weak
    I am going to write an unfavorable review of the premise of this book, but let me first state that I am in Schlosser's camp in that the proliferation of fast food in the US (and world) is unfortunate.

    To Schlosser's credit, he does have an impressive list of interviews with various players along the fast food supply chain. The strength of this book is twofold: One, he provides a good history of how fast food was born, and how it proliferated throughout a generation. Two, because of his discussion, he does provide a number of interesting anecdotes one would not hear unless reading the book. Despite the impressive list of interviews, the sources come from the tails of their distribution - they are inevitably people who are not representative of their entity. Throughout the book, Schlosser makes the embarrassing error of trying to map what happens at the extreme to what happens to the average consumer/producer/employee. The fact of the matter is that with almost anything, there exist inherent tradeoffs. Schlosser continually tries to tell a story through these extreme aberrations. Again: I personally am opposed to those things Schlosser is, but I understand there is a counter story to my personal claims. Schlosser does not even acknowledge the existence of the other side.

    Schlosser also tries to politicize much of the book - he comes off as a populist. In what is becoming an all too common mistake in discourse today, he thinks that everything reduces to right/left without arguing why. This pigeonholing substantially dilutes his credibility in my opinion.

    In Schlosser's world he would heavily regulate the industry. He makes a few thought-provoking points regarding lax regulation that I agree with for the most part. That said, he is stands in staunch opposition to anything remotely regarding the free market with respect to breaking up the industry. He makes this claim copious times without one iota of rigor or fact... as an economist, I cannot even begin to describe how frustrating this is. His world is too discrete in thinking government regulation is the proverbial magical wand.

    Overall the book offers a few interesting stories and some history which primarily composes the first half. The second half lack an intellectual foundation and is too discrete to merit any serious thought.

    ...more info
  • grossly informative
    Though there was alot of info in this book that I already knew, there was also a good amount that was new. The most telling thing I can say about this book, is that I haven't touched meat since reading it shortly after it was published years ago. ...more info
  • Frightening Truths
    Schlosser's expos®¶ of the fast food industry makes for terrifying reading. Now that I am aware of the appalling corporate trade practices, I have been sure to avoid McDonald's (except in order to get hold of the complete Happy Meal collections of Hannah Montana and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles- the mantelpiece would have seemed bare without them). However, it is equally worrying to learn about the produce found in major supermarkets. Chicken is frequently known to contain as much as 40% additives. If you ask me, 'chicken' should be just that and it should NOT involve added protein. It is for this reason that I must politely decline Uncle Bruce's invitations to dinner. Since I caught a glimpse of him through the kitchen window (during the final throes of 'injecting' a chicken) I have felt little urge to join him for a Sunday dinner. ...more info
  • A must read before you order your next fast food burger
    "Fast Food Nation" is well-written, well-researched, and applicable to more than just the food we order and eat today. It provides a secondary hypothesis (against the backdrop of the urban sprawl of Colorado Springs) explaining reasons cities developed in the 20th century the way they did - as driven by fast food development along with the supply chain organizations supporting it.
    The book maintains a constant theme with enough twists and human interest added to keep the reader engaged. It covers a variety of related topics within the subject that help support the thesis. Anyone who has eaten at a fast food restaurant (especially in the inner city) can relate to "Fast Food Nation."
    The book presents a doomsday scenario which may not be too far off of the mark (and is addressed by the author in a new afterward in the paperback version addressing Mad Cow Disease). The logic Schlosser uses throughout the book highlights some significant problems with the industry, many of which must be addressed to turn the industry, and supporting supply chain industries, around. He provides some suggestions about what needs to happen to make those changes.
    It's hard to believe that the industry can be so rife with dangers and apathy from within, but Schlosser's research and well-positioned arguments make his theories and observations hard to refute. ...more info
  • Frequenty and Severely Drifts Off Target
    I've taught this book for several years, and over time have realized that the title is quite misleading. Or the content is. Consider: the book is ostensibly a critique of the history/influence/fallout of the fast-food industry in the US. However, much of the book has little to do with this.

    For example, one large section focuses on the coloring/flavoring industry, which can be seen, the author notes, in every supermarket. This is a characteristic of the entire food and cosmetics and toiletries industry, not just fast food.

    The sections on meatpacking plants are harrowing, indeed. But then I realized this applies to the entire supermarket/restaurant industry, not just fast food. So what's it doing here?

    Similarly, the sections on agribusiness, disheartening though they may be, reflect the business practices of this entire section of the US economy, not simply those parts used by fast food. So the detailed discussion of this, though it is fascinating, does not uniquely illuminate fast food.

    There are other examples, but you get the idea. Overall, there's a lot of interesting research, well-presented, but rather than calling is Fast Food Nation, it would be more accurate to title it simply Food Nation.

    ...more info
  • Well-researched eye-opener
    What got me interested in this book was of course, the cover. I was a "Mickey D's" kid back in the 80s and this book addresses just that. All that I am now was explained in this book and it really opened my eyes to the atrocities that happen in the factories that supply our food in America. From illegal immigrants bringing disease into the slaughterhouses, to the diseases the slaughterhouses themselves cause, this book outlines every disgusting process that is practiced to this day. Because of this, I have learned to ditch fast food altogether, not just because I was appalled at where these corporations get our food from, but because I could see that our entire country is dependent on these corporations and unnecessarily so. I think this book should be recommended reading at the high school level, as the author talks about how fast food preys upon teenagers not only because the food is cheap but because fast food jobs are always available to the young and especially the uneducated. This book will change your opinion, and if not that, will definitely make you think twice about our food sources and how the United States of America is currently operating....more info
  • the beginning de-omnivorization for me~Recommended~
    Perfectly disturbing only because its true! I rate it high, but like a book on the holocost, its hard to say I LIKED IT. I am definitely Recommending it though. A shocker and a sad eye opener. See also Morgan Spurlock's "Don't Eat This Book, Fast Food and the Supersizing of America."...more info
  • Nearly Delicious
    Eric Schlosser is an investigator and a journalist. In Fast Food Nation, he explains to the readers both how the fast food industry came to be, and how fast food has badly affected the American culture and those of countries overseas.

    Schlosser writes as a correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly. In Fast Food Nation, he takes the viewpoint of a jounalist, naturally. Schlosser sheds light on the problems behind the fast food industry: cheap labor, unsafe conditions, and obesity, to name a few. His book contains two sections, one on its history and one on its effects. Section 1 covers the histories of various fast food companies, while Section 2 mainly focuses on the truth behind what you are eating (that is, the meat and potatoes), but also on the global effects of fast food.

    Schlosser does an almost excellent job at showing everything the American people need to know, but there are a few small problems. He uses shocking statistics, terrible situations, and horrifying truths to make each and every reader remember exactly what he or she has just read. With all this schocking information, Schlosser somewhat, at times, loses his viewpoint a little bit. In between giving his harsh statistics, he has many smaller stories. Some explain a man's history. Others explain a rural town and its history. All of this history becomes a little bit tedious. A few times, I felt more as if I were reading a school textbook than an astounding book on fast food.

    In Fast Food Nation, the statistics are simply unbelieveable. In the back of the book is its sources, so I felt better trusting the information. On the down side, the writing occasionally tends to soften; but on the plus side, the solid, factual, and extremely shocking information in this book is ultimately the only aspect that one would remember after reading this book.
    ...more info
  • A hard look at not only fast food, but the beef industry
    And I don't say that so much because of the things this books brings to light about the fast food industry. I actually say it because of all the horrifying things I've learned about the BEEF industry! I never would have imagined what goes into raising cattle (the disgusting things they are fed), killing them and then turning them into meat. The dangers that these processes bring upon us as consumers of this beef (mad cow etc.) And the fact that the government is barely, if at all, regulating this?! Because they are "all in bed" with the beef industry! WOW. I am seriously considering from now on buying organic beef. I hope that in the next ten years that this government will start putting in place some better protection for us as beef consumers, at the time this book was written they were not allowed to re-call beef, nor were they able to inspect the factories....definitely a book worth reading and hopefully it continues to get noticed, make waves and bring upon some change.

    As for the reading, it was dry at times, but for the most part interesting. I think it was very well written. It was helpful how it was broken down into chapters dealing with different aspects- made it easy to follow the argument and then grasp the sum-up of it all at the end, and how each part ties together. From the chapters on how fastfood/McDonalds got it's start, to the look at "why the fries taste so good", or what's in the beef, to the look at the meat processing plants...the author certainly seemed to do his homework, because he was nothing if not thorough. If Schlosser were to write a follow up, years down the road, I'd definitely read and will certainly recommend this to friends! ...more info
  • Wake up and smell the fries, or otherwise
    First of all, it's not just about fries. This is about American history and how we became so obese craving for those golden brown yummy fries and other delicious fast food for that matter. It's about how some companies made fortune while naive consumers are being suckered into the habit. If you ever watched 'Supersize Me,' this book is far better and lot more in depth. I learned a lot about what happends in fast food and meet packing industry. Impact to American society is simply phenomenal. If you can sue tobacco industry (mind you I am not a smoker), let's go take on fast food, high calorie drinks, salty packaged foods. I believe the next in order is FDA since it authorized food manufactures to put 10 teaspoons of sugar in every can of beverages. The book also talks about meat packing industry and it's workers. It helps you to look at how American business runs in general. If you like steaks, please take caution. I lost my appetite on red meat for two weeks after reading this book. This book is great page turner and it certainly can widen your perspective on those yummy fries we enjoy so much....more info
  • Interesting, but read carefully
    This is an interesting in depth analyses of how the fast food industry has infiltrated every aspect of our society. However, read it carefully. The author mixes various economic supply chain efficiencies with unethical business practices and bunches them all together in one big scornful shame. The fact that this particular industry has reduced friction of the supply chain through standardization, economies of scale, automation and high tech systems seems problematic to him. He intermingles these things with the lack of government regulation in the industry and how these corporations exploit the uneducated masses. He seems very pro-government and anti-business in many cases, but not always....more info
  • Very informative-great for anti-christian liberals
    I will admit, I learned a lot from this book and so glad that my family is already eating a vegan whole food high raw lifestyle. I am appalled at a lot of this as I know from working in fast food restaurants in the 80's that much of this is true. I worked at A&W where lots of drug smuggling was going on and the place was finally shut down...Burger King and all the teens working there...we stayed up late hours working many dangerous jobs.

    I don't understand why so many immigrants are allowed to work in these places. I feel sorry for these people and the big wigs should be ashamed for treating anyone this way. It takes things into a new level. It isn't even about the poor animals's the poor people as well!

    The middle of the book begins to change into the authors own agenda about Republicans that really ticks me off. Don't believe that for one minute. He needs to keep his views to himself and stick to the subject of his book.

    This book was not what I expected, but very very good nonetheless besides all the right wing Republican bashing. I also didn't appreciate a lot of the 'church suppers' being blamed for the majority of E-Coli. That is a load. I take it the writer is a left wing anti-christian/church person.

    I am giving it a 4 because everyone needs to know what is going on in the industry but a I don't like his own anti-church, anti-Republican rhetoric.

    ...more info
  • Awesome!
    A fascinating, highly readable evisceration of the fast food industry. The book covers a lot of ground- nutrition, politics, economics, marketing, chemistry, industry, and the human cost as well- with cutting humor and vitriol. A terrific read and eye-opener....more info
  • Alarming!
    I could not put the book down. I found it so intriguing that I had to buy another copy to pass among my family and friends. I was, like the rest of the people who have read this, shocked to know exactly how the large agricultural companies operate and the feebleness with which the FDA and USDA operate.
    Being a government employee myself I feel the massive budget cuts and have experienced the mounds of work displaced to employees already overwhelmed. There's no way to catch up or catch anything that is not a blatant violation. So, I'm not surprised to find out that the majority of the time the agricultural business is left to police itself.
    I was skeptical by the amount of negative information in the book and wondered if this could indeed really be happening. The author, however, delivers facts and names which when investigated would have to be accurate for those details to be published -otherwise this book would have been shut down before publishing.
    That said I feel the book must be on the mark. Knowing that I am more cautious, than ever, about where I purchase my food. I could not stand fast food before I read the book, which gave me relief that not eating junk food is sensible advice. Knowing what I know now I choose to cook more meals at home. I have banned the supermarket for most items that I can purchase locally -meats and vegetables. Trust in the man at Winn Dixie or Food Lion is gone.
    My advice; educate yourself. Do not let this be the only source of information about the food industry. Buy locally if you can. Make a friend of your local butcher or farmer's market. Purchase in-season items -this reduces the miles your food has traveled which lessens the environmental impact of what you are eating. It'll guarantee a better quality product too. Know where your food is coming from.
    ...more info
  • Fast Food Nation - Eye opening read
    This is a very well researched and written tome that I would recommend to anyone interested in how big agribusiness works. Cynical by nature, I'm even more so after reading the book, especially when it comes to politics and big business. If you read nothing else, check out the chapter on the slaughterhouse. Egad.

    I look forward to reading Schlosser's other book, Refer Madness....more info
  • chicken lover
    The book was excellent. Some of the fast food history was a bit tedious, but would recommend. However, plan to give up burgers....more info
  • This book will lead you to better health
    I am a little more than half way through the book but couldn't resist writing a review. It's packed with research and was written with 2 years of research as the author travels around to many places and investitages and meets up with people and some things are not even disclosed such as the customers of the food additives company that use them in their foods to enhance their taste and that's why Mc Donald's fries taste so good. It doesn't matter if you are a Republican or Democrat, American or Asian or other, low volume fast food eater or high one, this book will open your eyes. It has interesting historical information such as how Ronald McDonald character was chosen based on his physical appearance and the first choice being eliminated due to looking overweight. Anyway, I won't tell you, just will say that I have enjoyed this more than the best fiction book I have ever read and to the reviewer who says that overweight people will use this book to blame corporate and government America, I want to tell you that I was blind to a lot of things before reading this book and I don't blame anybody, only my naivete AND people who don't read this book will probably fall prey to the crookedness of the fast food industry. ...more info
  • Would you like fries with that?
    "We think fast food is equivalent to pornography, nutritionally speaking." ~Steve Elbert

    I have avoided reading this book simply because sometimes I prefer not to know some things. I like meat. I am a carnivorian, but I don't necessarily want to know what's going on in the slaughterhouses. I prefer ignorance. My curiousity finally got the best of me.

    The book focuses on the following main points (among others):
    - A history of how hamburgers and fries became the quintessential meal in the 50s
    - A history of how some of our major fast food chains started
    - The globalization of fast food
    - The marketing bombardment of fast food on children (an utter success with my kids)
    - The poor working conditions and low pay in the restaurants and slaughterhouses (not pretty)
    - The dangers of working in a slaughterhouse (read with an empty stomach)
    - The disappearing American farmer
    - The rise in foodborne illnesses
    - Mad cow disease (I am naive, I didn't realize that they fed cows dead pigs, cows, horses, cats, dogs, etc.)
    - The unfortunate power of the lobbyists in the meatpacking and fast food industries that keep their thumb on our government when it comes to health and safety issues

    I enjoyed the book and am happy to be more educated on some of the issues, although sometimes you have to take some of the facts presented with a grain of salt. There are always two sides to a story. I wish I could say I wouldn't go to a fast food restaurant again (not a fan) but my kids seem to have a lot of pull with me. Plus I am a sucker for a Chicken Bacon Swiss sandwich at Carl's Jr...

    Here are just a few of the facts/statistics that I found interesting:
    - Americans spent $6 billion on fast food in 1970. We spent $110 billion in 2001
    - Americans spend more money on fast food than on higher education, computers, software, or new cars
    - Americans spend more money on fast food than on movies, books, magazines, newspapers, videos, and recorded music combined
    - McDonalds is the nation's largest purchaser of beef, pork, and potatoes, and the second largest purchaser of chicken
    - An estimated 1 out of 8 workers in the U.S. has worked at McDonalds (not me)
    - Americans drink soda at an annual rate of 56 gallons per person-600 12 oz. cans (yikes)
    - A medium Coke selling for $1.29 contains only 9 cents of syrup (rip off and getting worse all the time-whatever happened to the 50 cent 32 ouncers I bought at Woods gas station?)
    - 1/4 of American children between 2 and 5 have a TV in their bedroom (why?)
    - Every month about 90% of American children between 3 and 9 visit a McDonalds...more info
  • Corporate Evil Exposed
    It was astonishing to learn that the apparently inoffensive fast food industry is supposedly evil:

    Children were easily induced by marketing campaigns through characters and restaurant features with infantile appeal. What seems to be an innocent and fair approach, was intended in fact to create a consuming habit that could make one forever emotionally dependent. Even school environments were not left behind as this promoted a favorable environment to target youngsters. Problem is that money matters sometimes could talk louder and schools allowed corporate interests to prevail over the main purpose of a school: educate children properly.

    Meat packing and potatoes industries are quintessential examples of corporate practices to the max: exploratory and careless practices toward workers, who work too much even in the worst working conditions that are imaginable and get too little in return, subject to retaliation in case of dissatisfaction. Throughput and low cost is what matters, nothing else. Knowing that the meat we eat, the way it is produced, could easily be tainted with pathogens that may lead us to death just makes one wonder if it is still worth the risk, although sandwiches are made irresistibly delicious with a hand of the folks at the flavor industry, that have the ability to turn crap into the most tasteful piece of food ever.

    Fast Food Nation unveils the mystery that maintains a chain of both fast food restaurants and related industries well and alive with our precious and honest aid. Despite of the title and regardless of whether the history is true or not, the main purpose of the book is focused on criticizing the corporate practices that can be in every business (not only fast food), promoting easy money returns and poor consideration to the human being. ...more info
  • THIS is your McWake Up Call
    I am still amazed at the lines I see in the lines of fast food restaurants as I drive past many of them. Obviously, this book still has a lot of minds to change. In retrospect, it may even be preaching to the choir. That certainly does not diminish the importance of some of the statements in this book.

    With over a thousand reviews, I trust that most of the reviews has already done an adequate job of reviewing the facts of this book. So I will make some general comments about the work. First even before this book, it would be ignorant to think healthy food comes from a fast food restaurant. By itself, any fried food is generally bad for you. Second, I was expecting the theme of this book to focus more on fast food establishments. Yet Schlosser's statements about the meat packing industry are staggering and frightening. I really do not have much of a desire to eat ground beef again. My third comment is more of a rhetorical question. How long will it be before the American public gets tired of the Republicans bending over backwards for business just because they continually stump for religion? The malaise of the American electorate frightens me.

    The people that need to read this book most are probably waiting in line at the drive thru as we speak. When Americans learn that Ronald McDonald's food is not healthy food, perhaps the obesity epidemic in this country will dissolve. At least it will be a good first step....more info


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