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10 Years Later…

14 Mar

The book Fast Food Nation, written by Eric Schlosser, might be one of my favorite books on food corporations. It’s difficult to believe that it was written ten years ago. (Wow, people were conscious of these issues ten years ago?!) In the early years of the last decade, the Internet was just getting popular. Wouldn’t you expect the world to be wildly different because of the Internet? Isn’t it supposed to facilitate the exchange of information and possibly influence the change in eating habits? NOPE.

In this article, Mr. Schlosser reflects on the progress (and lack of progress) since 2002. Please see the following quotes and my thoughts:

“Every day about 65 million people eat at a McDonald’s restaurant somewhere in the world, more than ever before. The annual revenues of America’s fast-food industry, adjusted for inflation, have risen by about 20 percent since 2001.”

I think the key phrase here is “somewhere in the world.” McDonalds has one of the biggest brands in the world and I’m sure they have opened hundreds if not thousands of restaurants in the last decade. In my opinion, the worst place to eat fast food is in the United States. Please see the quote following this to see why.

“As of this writing, the USDA still lacks the authority to test widely for dangerous pathogens, to set enforceable limits on those pathogens, and to demand the recall of contaminated meat.”

Seriously, why doesn’t the USDA have this authority yet?!!?!?

“In 2002 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration changed the form that meatpacking companies must use to report injuries. The new form had no space to report musculoskeletal disorders caused by repetitive trauma—thereby preventing a whole category of serious injury from being counted. Instantly, as if by magic, the injury rate in meatpacking dropped by almost 50 percent.”

Mr. Upton Sinclair would not be happy about this!! This is like the modern edition of The Jungle.

“Even the National Restaurant Association, a corporate bastion of the old mindset, now acknowledges the change. Its 2011 “Restaurant Industry Forecast” says that today’s top menu trends are ‘local sourcing, sustainability, and nutrition.’”

I’m very happy that they acknowledge this but I would love to see fast food corporations locally source their ingredients. I wonder if an economy of scale would exist…

“Although the amount of money spent on organic food has increased more than 20-fold since the early 1990s, it currently accounts for only 4 percent of the nation’s total spending on food.”

THIS IS YOUR TIME TO SHINE!! BUY ORGANIC!!!

“As upper-middle-class and well-educated people increasingly reject fast food, the industry has responded much like the tobacco industry once did when that demographic group decided to quit smoking. The fast-food chains, like the tobacco companies, are now aggressively targeting African-Americans, Latinos, and the poor.”

McDonald’s 20-piece chicken nuggets for $5… I wonder who they are targeting…