Fast Food Nation
||The neutrality of this article is disputed. (April 2012)|
|Fast Food Nation|
|Publication date||January 17, 2002|
|Dewey Decimal||394.1/0973 21|
|LC Classification||TX945.3 .S355 2001|
Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal (2003) is a book by investigative journalist Eric Schlosser that examines the local and global influence of the United States fast food industry.
First serialized by Rolling Stone in 1999, the book has drawn comparisons to Upton Sinclair's classic muckraking novel The Jungle. The book was adapted into a film of the same name, directed by Richard Linklater.
Schlosser opens the book with the ironic delivery of a pizza to the top secret military base, Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. He describes various high-tech capabilities of the base and its extensive defensive system, speculating that if the worst were to happen and the entire base were entombed in the mountain, anthropologists of the future would discover random fast food wrappers scattered amongst military hardware. Both, suggests Schlosser, would provide important clues about the nature of American society.
The book continues with an account of the evolution of fast food and how it has coincided with the advent of the automobile. Schlosser explains the transformation from countless independent restaurants to a few uniform franchises. This shift led to a production-line kitchen prototype, standardization, self-service, and a fundamental change in marketing demographics: from teenager to family-oriented.
Marketing to kids 
Regarding the topic of child-targeted marketing, Schlosser explains how the McDonald's Corporation modeled its marketing tactics on The Walt Disney Company, which inspired the creation of advertising icons such as Ronald McDonald and his sidekicks. Marketing executives intended that this marketing shift would result not only in attracting children, but their parents and grandparents as well. More importantly, the tactic would instill brand loyalty that would persist through adulthood through nostalgic associations to McDonald's. Schlosser also discusses the tactic's ills: the exploitation of children's naïveté and trusting nature. He sees that reductions in corporate taxation have come at the expense of school funding, thereby presenting many corporations with the opportunity for sponsorship with those same schools. According to his sources, 80% of sponsored textbooks contain material that is biased in favor of the sponsors, and 30% of high schools offer fast foods in their cafeterias.
In his examination of the meat packing industry, Schlosser finds that it is now dominated by casual, easily exploited immigrant labor and that levels of injury are among the highest of any occupation in the United States. Schlosser discusses his findings on meat packing companies IBP, Inc. and on Kenny Dobbins. Schlosser also recounts the steps involved in meat processing and reveals several hazardous practices unknown to many consumers, such as the practice of rendering dead pigs and horses and chicken manure into cattle feed.
Schlosser notes that practices like these were responsible for the spread of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE, aka Mad Cow Disease, p. 202-3), as well as for introducing harmful bacteria into the food supply, such as E. coli O157:H7 (ch. 9, "What's In The Meat"). A later section of the book discusses the fast food industry's role in globalization, linking increased obesity in China and Japan with the arrival of fast food. The book also includes a summary of the McLibel Case.
In later editions, Schlosser provided an additional section that included reviews of his book, counters to critics who emerged since its first edition, and discussion of the effect that the threat of BSE had on US Federal Government policy towards cattle farming. He concluded that, given the swift, decisive and effective action that took place as a result of this interest and intervention, many of the problems documented in the book are solvable, given enough political will.
Young adult version 
- ISBN 0-06-093845-5 (paperback edition 2002, 400pp.)
- ISBN 0-7139-9602-1 (paperback edition 2001, 368pp.)
- ISBN 0-14-100687-0 (paperback edition 2002, 400pp.)
- ISBN 0-395-97789-4 (hardcover edition 2001, 288pp.)
- ISBN 0-06-083858-2 (paperback edition 2005, 383pp.)
See also 
- Chew on This — a young readers' adaptation of the book Fast Food Nation
- The Corporation (film) — a 2003 Canadian documentary film critical of the modern-day corporation and its behavior towards society
- Fast Food Nation (film) — a 2006 American/British drama film directed by Richard Linklater. The screenplay was written by Linklater and Eric Schlosser
- Food, Inc. (film) — a documentary film featuring the author talking about similar subject matter
- Jennifer Government — a 2003 novel by Max Barry set in a hyper-corporate world, where schools, health care and almost everything else are run by major corporations
- Million Calorie March: The Movie — a 2008 documentary film highlighting obesity and weight loss
- My Secret Life on the McJob — a book by Jerry Newman, a college professor, about low-wage work in fast-food outlets undercover
- Super Size Me — a 2004 fast food documentary by Morgan Spurlock
- Reefer Madness (2003 book) — Schlosser's other book, written in 2003 examining migrant labor and the pornography and marijuana businesses in America
- "Fast Food Salon". Salon. Retrieved 2010-12-05.
- Sagon, Candy (2001-03-14). "The Hamburger Critic (and His Own Critics); 'Fast Food Nation" takes a scary look under the bun. But is it just fear-mongering?". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2010-12-05.
- Schlosser, Eric (2001-04-07). "Fhe bitter truth about fast food". The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-05-09.
- Audio Interview: Eric Schlosser. The New York Times listen to audio file.
- Tichi, Cecilia (2004). "From the Jungle to Fast Food Nation: American Déjà Vu". Exposés and excess: muckraking in America, 1900-2000. University of Pennsylvania Press. ISBN 0-8122-3763-3.
- Schlosser, Eric (2001). Fast Food Nation. New York: Houghton Mifflin Co.