FastFoodNation The following I have gathered from Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser. He has done research on fast-food chains, their philosophies, their suppliers of meat, and their employees. This book is a good case for returning to eating meat from local farmers who are conscientious about raising cattle, or not eating meat at all.

The process of packaging meat is done with such small profit margins, and with such greed, that:

  1. the base product of hamburgers and nuggets, cows and poultry, are fed left-over meat from their own species. This has led to the outbreak of Mad Cow disease in Great Britain, but apart from being dangerous this involuntary cannibalism is disgusting and unnatural, and for the sole purpose of making a profit.
  2. Killing animals before they are processed must be done quickly to meet production-demands, and it is therefore not always done either softly or successfully before an animal is gutted. Dutch meat-factories operate at a lower speed dictated by safety-regulations.
  3. Hygiene in (American) meat-packaging factories is of such low standards that several million pounds of meat must be recalled every year because it contains salmonella or E.Coli–and E.Coli is transmitted through faeces.
  4. Employees are at risk of hurting themselves or their colleagues with knives, hooks, grinding equipment or repetitive activities, in direct relation to the speed at which they have to work at the (dis)assembly line. Most of the employees in American meat-packaging factories are immigrants who don’t speak English very well or at all, and meat-packaging factories are a very dangerous place to work and should require a strict hygiene.

In addition, I object to:

  1. The arificial or chemical flavoring of almost all processed foods (burgers, nuggets, fries, chips, soda), because processed foods have almost no taste at all. The beef taste of a hamburger from McDonald’s comes from a chemical plant in New Jersey.
  2. The treatment of employees of fast-food chains, who are discouraged to join a union or demand fair wages. Their jobs are kept as simple, separate, and repetitive as possible so that it requires almost no training at all and can be done by almost anybody.
  3. Although advertising to young children is strictly regulated (at least in Europe), fast-food chains try to bring as many young children into their restaurants because they are the most likely to return with their parents, or, in a few years’ time, with their own children.

Last but not least:

Fast food contains almost no nutrients. It is saturated with fat, sugar and salt, and although it may have an attractive taste sometimes, our natural system for selecting which food to eat is deceived by chemicals. Eating fast food makes you fat, and may cause obesity and quite simply shorten your life significantly. And we all know it, too. The appetite you work up when you’re near a fast food restaurant is not a good friend, it’s a bad one. If you can’t kick him out, at least try and ignore him from time to time.