Friday, December 20, 2002

"Fast Food Nation" by Eric Schlosser


I probably won't base any stories on "Fast Food Nation." I probably won't change my eating habits profoundly. There've been times when I've been really pleased to see a McDonalds: familiar, kid friendly, fast, relatively inexpensive, and usually with reasonably clean restrooms. But (thank goodness) my kids have long since outgrown clamoring to go there. But this book is more than a slam against the fast food industry (like we didn't already know big macs aren't exactly good for us), it's an exposé of BIG agribusiness on every level from the ranch to the slaughterhouse to the restaurant to the garbage spilling into the street; from exploitation of the workforce to lack of concern for animal welfare to a system rife with potential to spread antibiotic resistant, food-borne disease organisms. And this book came out before the recent revelations of high levels of the carcinogen, acrylamide, forming in french fries during cooking.

So for me, it basically just reaffirmed my existing inclination to:
  • Never buy prepackaged frozen burgers, which are apt to contain meat from hundreds of animals, and thus exponentially increasing the probably of one infected animal spreading bacteria (or prions) far and wide.
  • Seek out local markets that sell produce from local growers. Preferably organic, free range, naturally fed, with NO antibiotics. Tastes like real food. 
I do not know why, and it seems unfair to blame McDonalds, but occasions when I have seen people egregiously littering it's been bags/wrapping/packaging from McDonalds. I've seen people toss it out the window on the Pacific Coast Highway (where I couldn't stop safely to pick it up), or just dump it in the parking lot no more than 10 feet from a garbage can (which is where I helpfully disposed of it for them).

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