Monday, February 16, 2009

Book Review - Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal - Eric Schlosser

Sex, Drugs and Slaughterhouses

Whoa! If there weren’t enough reasons I was aware of for me to continue to avoid fast food, I have just added fifty more. Let’s put the obvious health risks involved aside and just focus on the oppressive and exploitive nature of these major corporations that are brainwashing, feeding and devouring our children, and that should be enough to have you on a soap box at Dundas Square.

Would it surprise you to know that for over two decades the right wing of the U.S. Republican Party has worked closely with the fast food industry and the meat packing industry to oppose food safety laws, worker safety laws and increases in the minimum wage? If corporations in bed with the government weren’t bad enough, we learn about the ties to the mafia and how they were used as enforcements to keep labour unions out of the slaughterhouses. Or what about the methamphetamines supplied to migrant workers to keep them awake for endless shifts in these deplorable and often fatally dangerous workplaces? How about the sexual harassment bestowed upon female workers in order to be moved to a better department, or even to just keep their horrendous jobs? Sex, Drugs and Slaughterhouses might have been a better title for this eye opening account of the dangers of mass production. The shock and awe doesn’t stop there, as Schlosser informs us that until the Clinton administration stepped in, the government purchased the cheapest ground beef available, from suppliers with repeated infractions of E. coli and Salmonella contamination, to sell in their school lunch programs.

At the end of this book I am left feeling ill, but not ill-informed, as there is a plethora of outstanding information to be absorbed. Although sometimes the writing lacked a certain flow, jumping back and forth between points, only to repeat the same information, and sometimes the same sentences. Regardless, everyone should be made to read Fast Food Nation and learn about the atrocities involved in making food fast, and corporations rich even faster. Part of me is wishing and hoping that things aren’t as bad here in Canada, but alas I am left with the feeling that greed is an international and human flaw, and that corruption knows no borders.

3.5/5 Snakes


  1. I loved this one also - another good one if you can stomach it after reading this book is Omnivore's Dilemma by Michael Pollan and a great book about how to change the way you eat is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingslover.

  2. I know that I have Omnivore's Dilemma on my TBR list, but I will have to add Animal, Vegetable, Miracle. Thanks for the recommendation. ;-)