Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation is an attempt to describe how American eating and food-production patterns have changed since World War Two. Large-scale meat and poultry plants often allow fecal matter to contaminate animal food sources—this has led to outbreaks of Salmonella, E. coli, and other viral and bacterial contagions throughout the food supply. Going back to the early days of the McDonald brothersâ âSpeedee Serviceâ system, fast food has employed a low-skill, low-wage system of labor that keeps costsâand therefore, consumer pricesâto a minimum.
By mass-producing specialty cuts and shipping them in sealed plastic to the supermarkets, this method of production also enabled the supermarkets to fire most of their skilled butchers. Since its rise in the postwar United States, fast food has worked its way deep into the fabric of Americaâs social, economic, educational, and political institutions.
In 1906, Upton Sinclair wrote The Jungle, which shocked the conscience (and turned the stomach) of the nation by exposing audiences to the dangerous and unsanitary conditions in Americaâs slaughterhouses and meatpacking plants. Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal tells the story of how the United Statesâand, increasingly, the worldâhas become shaped and defined by the fast food industry. Struggling with distance learning? Meatpacking, once a heavily unionized, high-skill, and well-paying profession, has been transformed into a dangerous and low-paying job performed by some of the most vulnerable and easily exploited members of American society. The scenery becomes even more violent as one goes further up the production line, where workers interact with live cattle. His company could now grow its own potatoes, provide its own fertilizer, process them at their own factories, and ship them from their own warehouses and lumber yards, all without ever interacting with an outside supplier. Fast food can be made more healthy for consumers, and more economically viable for independent owners; food production can be made safer for workers in plants across the US and the globe.
Even by selectively boycotting certain fast-food and food-production practices, and by learning more about the manner in which their food is caught, cooked, and distributed, consumers can help improve those patterns. It is, on the one hand, a very sensible subject for any treatment of the American food industry, as its buying power is vast, and its franchises are located in all fifty states.
Rise of Fast Food. Foodborne illness has truly gone viral. Weâre going to explore how the economics of the fast food industry have reshaped American agriculture, examine where your fries really come from, and why they taste the way they do.