Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Fast Food Nation: Conclusions

"Nitrates mean life!"

I realized I didn't do something I had planned to do: Summarize Eric Schlosser's solutions for the problems of fast food, from Fast Food Nation. So, here they are...

1. Ban advertising for high-sugar, high-fat foods aimed at children.
2. Form one federal food safety agency to replace the dozen uncoordinated agencies now responsible for the public's health.
3. Wage a war on foood pathogens similar to the war on drugs. Crack-smokers know they're doing something dangerous; burger-eaters don't.
4. Slow down the line speeds at slaughterhouses to reduce injuries and improve sanitation (right now, most workers are too busy to clean their implements and wash their hands as often as they should).
5. Raise the amount of OSHA fines for workplace fatalities, and add criminal charges for negligence.
6. Decentralize agriculture, get small ranchers and farmers back in business. Enforce antitrust laws and abolish "veggie libel laws" that prevent public concern/criticism over agribusiness.
7. End federal subsidies to fast food chains.
8. Get involved at the grassroots level. "The right pressure applied to the fast food industry in the right way could produce change faster than any any act of Congress". Example: When environmentalists protested McDonald's use of polystyrene packaging, it switched to paper).

And for a laugh, visit the website thrown up (no pun) by a group of food associations to combat the information seen in Fast Food Nation, Supersize Me, and other books/films about fast food: Best Food Nation. It doesn't contain any misinformation, but it cleverly avoids the truth. It points to improved standards for poultry-farming, for instance, without mentioning that chickens routinely pecked each other to death before farmers were forced to begin trimming their beaks, because they are kept in ridiculously tight quarters. And they go to great lengths to drum into your head the fact that poultry is never given hormones. Chemicals, yes - hormones, no. But they don't mention the chemicals.


Karen said...

FFN was one of those books that totally made me rethink how I look at food. Sure I still eat meat but I drastically reduced the amount that I eat. I think I should re-read it. Great summary of Schlosser's ideas.

tweetey30 said...

Sounds like a neat book really. I will have to check this one out.

tshsmom said...

There are federal subsidies to fast food chains? That's ridiculous!! How about giving subsidies to struggling "mom and pop" businesses?

SME said...

Yip. They receive subsidies intended to reward businesses that provide job training to the poor. Even tho training at a fast food place produces no real skills, and the people would have been hired regardless.