Fast Food Nation Analysis

7 July 2016

In Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser makes the argument that fast food has become an integral part of our society. Schlosser argues in his book that the rise of fast food has badly affected the health of the nation; also that it has impacted negatively on the culture of America and is a bad influence on the rest of the world. In regard to his view on health, Schlosser demonstrates how fast food can lead to obesity by quoting many sources to demonstrate his point.

Obesity, as well as other health problems, has become a leading problem for America. “The United States now has the highest obesity rate… More than half of all American adults and about one-quarter of all American children are now obese or overweight. Those proportions have soared during the last few decades, along with the consumption of fast food. ” [1]. In his epilogue Schlosser argues that since the fast food chains have spread overseas, it has made other countries equally unhealthy.

Fast Food Nation Analysis Essay Example

The fast food craze has even affected healthier countries like japan, instead of their well-balanced diets, their stomachs are getting larger and they are more prone to sicknesses like heart disease and diabetes. [2] Obesity may be a leading cause for the unhealthiness of the nation, but the production of the food is also part of it. Instead of using free-range cattle, companies now use factories where cattle are cramped into small lots to save money. These tight spaces are where cows sleep in their own feces.

Then they are shipped off and made into hamburgers which are most likely ridden with disease. Among these farmers, company employees and scientists are workers who do much more dangerous jobs but due to their positions aren’t given the conditions they deserve. Behind the product comes the way that the industry works and its mechanics, as Schlosser points out through his interview with Kenny Dobbins –a factor employee who worked until he could barely move –that the fast food industry has a poor skilled workforce who are working with atrocious labor conditions[3].

As Schlosser discusses in his chapter, “The Most Dangerous Job”, Dobbins as well as many other workers in the meat industry have to deal with brutal working conditions, a dangerous working environment, and a lack of respect, fair treatment and human rights. Schlosser emphasizes this statement regarding the fast food industry declaring that the corporation puts profit over people, meaning that they don’t care as much about the welfare and health of the customers, as they do for the profit.

Outside of the factories and the production comes the farming and ranches where the cattle and other produce are raised. The Fast Food industry’s business practices have even changed the way food is produced. After an interview with rancher Hank [4], Schlosser is now able to state that the fast food industry has partially caused a decrease in the number of working ranches, and a reduction in the number of ranchers and cowboys who are key iconic figures in American culture.

Among other parts of the American culture that are affected by the fast food industry, the idea of raising our children comes to mind. According to the book the fast food industry looks at our children as a means of making money, and companies provide ‘“Cradle-to-grave’” strategies to attract young customers [5]. The effects of McDonalds and other fast food chains affects children for life, “a survey of American schoolchildren found that 96 percent could identify Ronald McDonald, the only fictional character with a higher degree of recognition is Santa Claus.

The impact of McDonald’s on the way we live today is hard to overstate. The Golden arches are now more widely recognized than the Christian Cross”. [6] Corporations and companies have created different strategies to increase food popularity and profits. One of the ways they do this is by attracting children to the products. In order to get parents to buy fast food, the companies entice children with free toys and happy meals and other devices. Companies use strategies like this across the world to attract customers world-wide.

Eric Schlosser’s argument is that fast food is destroying us: as individuals, communities, work life, family life, and the rest of the world. Schlosser points out that fast food has reached all corners of the world, from farms to factories, from adults to children and from America to Japan. The author demonstrates this through his epilogue, “Global Realization” where he talks demands better treatment for workers and healthier, safer food to be put in supermarkets. Schlosser’s expose makes the final argument that if we are what we eat, then we aren’t well.

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