Fast Food Nation

Published: 2021-09-13 14:00:10
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Category: Fast Food, Fast Food Nation

Type of paper: Essay

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The fast food industry has been growing in America rapidly in the past decades. In “Fast Food Nation”, Eric Schlosser talks about the dangers of the fast food industry. Schlosser also explains the “distinctively American way” Americans view the world because of the fast food industry. I think the “distinctively American way” people view the world that Schlosser is trying to explain is that Americans care about money and power.
Due to the growth and success of the fast food industry, the owners of these big fast food companies are starting to care more about power and they’re willing to use their power to control over Congress and their employees. Schlosser also feels that fast food companies are willing to have harsh working conditions, use cheap labor, and misuse government subsidies just for capitalism. He feels that fast food companies’ main goal is to gain profit and they’re willing to harm their employees and consumers just for the profit.
Another “distinctively American way” people view the world due to fast food is that they’re starting to value convenience, speed, and cheapness. The fast food industry uses these attributes to help gain more profit because they know this will attract customers. Americans are starting to learn a new philosophy: bigger is better. Inhumane Working Conditions: Schlosser’s Argument- Schlosser argues that the fast food industry has many inhumane working conditions. In “Fast Food Nation”, Schlosser explains all the inhumane working conditions in the slaughterhouses and the effects of these working conditions.



He explains the inhumane working conditions by showing his experience as he visits a slaughterhouse. As he visits the slaughterhouse, he sees the meat cutters working and how horrendous their job is. Schlosser explains the process of cutting the meat, “They stand at a table that’s chest high, grab meat off a conveyer belt, trim away fat, throw meat back on the belt, toss the scraps onto a conveyer belt above them, and then grab more meat, all in a matter of seconds,”(170) The workers in the slaughterhouse do the same task repetitively throughout the day.
Not only are the workers doing the same task repetitively, they’re working in extreme temperatures and with disgusting smells of blood and manure. The workers are also working with sharp knives that give them injuries such as lacerations. Repeating the same motion continuously also gives the workers back problems, shoulder problems, carpal tunnel syndrome, and “trigger finger”(a syndrome in which a finger becomes frozen in a curler position). The worst slaughterhouse job is cleaning the slaughterhouse at night. These workers deal with heat, fog, and fumes.
The fumes make the workers throw up and they feel the fumes inside their bodies. Industry Defense- The fast food industry might defend themselves from these attacks about their inhumane working conditions by saying that they have these working conditions so production can be fast. Workers must perform the same task repetitively so that the meat could be cut as fast as possible. If production were to be slow, this will lead to less beef for the fast food industry and this will eventually harm the fast food industry.
If the fast food industry is harmed this may lead to the rise of unemployment because the fast food industry will slow down and might not need as much employees working at branches. The fast food industry is one of the biggest industries and it provides the most jobs for young adults and people in the lower economic class. We need the fast food industry so there could be enough jobs for people and this will overall benefit our economy. My Argument- I agree with Schlosser about how the fast food industry does have inhumane working conditions.
People are getting injuries and dying because of these horrible working conditions and that shouldn’t be acceptable. Even though production will be slower if they didn’t have these working conditions, we could make it possible for the fast food industry to work without the inhumane working conditions. Slaughterhouses can hire more employees so people could get more breaks and they don’t have to continuously cut meat for hours. They could also provide air conditioning and get some ventilation for these workers so they don’t have to work in the heat and smell.
There are many alternatives so these workers don’t have to suffer through these inhumane working conditions. Manipulation of Children Through TV: Schlosser’s argument- In “Fast Food Nation”, Schlosser argues that advertising companies are specifically attacking and manipulating children. After seeing the success of Walt Disney and Ray Kroc through their interest in selling to kids, advertisers started to attack children even more. The growth in advertising aimed at children has been driven by efforts to increase not just current, but also future, consumption.
Advertisers have an immediate goal; it’s to get children to ask for a specific product. Advertisers know children are easily influenced and they can easily persuade their parents to buy them products so companies’ advertisements are revolved around children. Children also have different types of nags to ask for these advertised products. Schlosser also explains how advertisers manipulate children by influencing them through advertisements, “Before trying to affect children’s behavior, advertisers have to learn about their tastes.
Today’s market researchers have not only conduct surveys of children in shopping malls, they also organize focus groups for kids as young as two or three” (44). Advertisers study the lives of children so they could apply their interests into advertisements. For example, Dan S. Acuff did a study and found out that roughly 80 percent of children’s dreams are about animals. Since children seem to be interested in animals, companies such as Disney use characters based off animals such as Mickey Mouse in their advertisements.
The manipulation of children through these television ads was controversial and in 1978 the Federal Trade Commission tried to ban television advertisements directed to children. The government defended the advertisement industry because different broadcasting groups lobbied the Congress to prevent restrictions on children advertisements. Industry Defense- The fast food industry might defend themselves from these attacks about their manipulation of children through TV by saying the advertisements do not make these children nag their parents for a certain product.
Schlosser just assumes it does because children tend to ask for the product after seeing these advertisements; it could merely just be a coincidence. They might also say it’s the parent’s choice to let the children watch these advertisements. The fast food industry is solely just advertising their product and it’s not the industry’s fault that children are watching these advertisements and asking for these products after watching the advertisements. If parents are so concern about they’re children wanting fast food because of these advertisements, they don’t have to let their children watch these advertisements.
My Argument- I agree with the fast food industry about the manipulation of children through TV. I feel that Schlosser can’t really prove that advertising companies are really manipulating children. Even though it’s true that they’re aiming their advertisements toward children, I feel like they’re solely just doing their job of advertising. Their job is supposed to sell the product and advertisement companies are just doing what they’re supposed to do. It’s also under the parent’s control if they want their children to see these advertisements. Food Poisoning: Schlosser’s argument
Schlosser argues in “Fast Food Nation” that the fast food industry poison consumers everyday. The pathogen E. coli 0157:H7 has been one of the main pathogens that have gotten people sick. He explains how the fast food industry is poisoning consumers with E. coli 0157:H7 and other food pathogens, “But the rise of huge feedlots, slaughterhouses, and hamburger grinders seem to have provided the means for this pathogen to become widely dispersed in the nation’s food supply. American meat production has never been so centralized: thirteen large packinghouses now slaughter most of the beef consumed in the United States.
The meat-packing system that arose to supply the nation’s fast food chains—an industry molded to serve their needs, to provided massive amounts of uniform ground beef so that all of McDonald’s hamburgers would taste the same—has proved to be an extremely efficient system for spreading disease”(196) The foodborne pathogens are carried into the meat because of the way the meat is processed. These pathogens tend to be carried and shed by “healthy” animals. The food that is tainted has most likely come in contact with an infected animal’s stomach or manure during slaughter and food processing.
The fast food industry is basically serving consumers food that has been in contact with shit. In “Fast Food Nation” Upton Sinclair describes a long list of practices in the meatpacking industry that threated the health of consumers, “the routine slaughter of diseased animals, the use of chemicals such as borax and glycerine to disguise the smell of spoiled beef, the deliberate mislabeling of canned meat, the tendency of workers to urinate and defecate on the kill floor”(204) The fast food industry is harming their consumers and they’re trying to hide the fact that they are.
In January of 1993, children were getting food poisoning and it all traced back to the undercooked hamburgers served at Jack in the Box restaurants. This incident received a lot of attention about the dangers of these food pathogens such as E. coli 0157:H7. The meatpacking industry refused to implement an inspection system and they paid their way to cover the dangers of these meat. Industry’s Defense: The fast food industry might defend themselves from these attacks about food poisoning by arguing that these meats are inspected before serving to their customers.
They might say that people could’ve gotten sick from the meat they have cooked at home. People also have a choice to eat these fast foods. If consumers feel like they’re going to get sick from the fast food they don’t have to eat it. Eating fast food is the consumer’s choice and they’re not forced to eat it. My argument: I agree with Schlosser about the fast food industry poisoning consumers. I feel that slaughterhouses and feedlots should watch how they slaughter and process the beef to make sure they’re not mixing the meat with any type of manure.
The fast food industry is also trying to hide the fact that they’re beef could be spoiled. The fast food industry should get an inspection system so that they’re meat could be fresh for consumers. This could prevent food poisoning and attract more customers because the consumers will trust what they’re eating more. Overall, I feel that the fast food industry is an industry that we need but it should be fixed.
I feel that the government should take over and control how the fast food industry works. The fast food industry needs to stop caring about capitalism and start caring more about their consumers and employees. They need to change their working conditions and how they process the meat. They also need to stop using their subsidies for themselves and stop cheating the political system. We need to revolutionize the fast food industry so that everyone could have a safer and healthier living.

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