Nation Betrayed by Fast Food

Fast Food Nation

Millions of Americans and immigrants suffer from fast-food lifestyle

Across the nation, especially in the west where unions are weaker, meat packaging plants hire under skilled, predominantly hispanic immigrant laborers that are horribly mistreated throughout their careers. A meat packaging plant is a butchery that take cattle and makes them into meat. From there, they sell them to various venders across the nation, and ultimately, the meat ends up in fast food restaurants. In these meat packaging plants, the conveyer belt moves much too fast for any kind of safety or sanitation. Unlike Europe, who has lots of regulations of speed and quality control, American packaging plants are allowed to go at a break-neck speed that results in injuries and abuse. Also, these plants are ruthless to the needs of their workers. Often, they pressure workers who have injuries to quit their job or require them to work in positions that are too difficult for them to complete with their injuries.

Another issue with fast food are food pathogens that often flourish with the unskilled employees in meat packaging plant as well as the carelessness of the predominantly adolescent or uneducated workers. Food pathogens are types of indigestible and harmful bacteria. Some food pathogens such as ecoli, 7H7 and others are known for causing horrible and painful deaths that attach the neuro regions of the body, often giving the victim heart attacks or shutting down the liver or other issues with internal organs. Often, fast food companies don't do as much as they could to stop these legal and painful food pathogens. For example, in 2007, Jack in the Box almost went out of business because they did not cook their hamburger patties as well as they should have to destroy pathogens. Given that children often eat from fast food restaurants more than adults, many children died from this outbreak or harmed from other pathogen related outbreaks. Even if someone does not die from these pathogens, they may become disabled. This is a sad result of fast food restaurants not doing what they should to prevent pathogens in their food products.

Another problem with the fast food industry is their blatant and shameful advertising to children. All across Cartoon Network and Disney Channel, there are fast food commercials. These commercials appeal to children in their use of cartoons, toys, and bright colors. Just walking into a fast food restaurant, such as McDonalds, there are different mascots and toys, and collectibles that seduce children into buying these foods. In addition, many of these fast food restaurants have play structures as part of their allure. Even in many schools across the nation, fast food is advertised as a way for the school to raise funds. Fast food products are often sold instead of healthy alternatives. You may wonder why the fast food industry targets children. It is because the companies know that habits and brand loyalty begin with children as young as two years old. The companies are hoping for life-long customers. It is not too much to say that the fast food industry will own these people from the cradle to the grave, however early the grave may be.

With children and the poor as the targets for the fast food industry, as well as the pathogens and the mistreatment of workers at the meat packaging plants, there is a perfect storm betraying our nation.

Eric Schlosser

Eric Schlosser is the author of Fast Food Nation and Reefer Madness. In Fast Food Nation, he criticizes the fast food industry and suggests ways for Americans to change the industry. Fast Food Nation is now required reading at several colleges around the country. It has won "The Best Business Book in 2001" by Fortune magazine. It has also been made into the movie with the same title.