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4.6 out of 5 stars128
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 28 April 2001
I wasn't really all that impressed with this book, even though I had waited with anticipation for it to come out. It seemed to me to be just another of these books which whip themselves into a synthetic fury over very little; on this occasion, the fact that many businesses simply try and make money. However the section about the meatpacking industry is truly horrific, and puts the author's tiresome whining about children's advertising and inauthentic food flavouring into perspective. If anything, I hope that this book can help improve conditions for the workers in that industry in a more permanent way than Upton Sinclair's "The Jungle" did at the turn of the century.
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on 19 October 2014
should be a "set book" in every High School in the world !
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on 25 November 2003
This book is an interesting insight into the fast food industry. Thoroughly researched and well-written, Eric Schlosser churns out facts and figures about the fast food industry.
As someone who doesn't eat beef, this book just compounds the point that staying away from Big Macs is the right thing to do. I'm still not sure I'd hesitate to buy a veggie burger though.
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on 15 October 2001
I truly do believe that everyone should read this book and others like it. It gives a graphic insight into how the large corporations like McDonalds are affecting and basically taking over the world. Every single page I read, I wanted to tell the world about. It kept me reading and reading, and I wish it went on forever. Very enlightening.
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on 11 August 2015
Superb book. Very readable well researched. A classic.
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on 16 October 2014
very interesting informative read will open your eyes
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on 2 August 2005
This book is excellent. It is well-written and easy-to-read. Some of the things he says in this book will make you think twice about ever eating in Macdonalds again. I once met someone over the net and when I went to meet her for the first time, her boyfriend told me that if I read this book, I would never want to eat in Macdonalds again. I didn't believe him.
However, when I saw this book for £2 off the RRP, I bought it. It turns out he was right. If you read this book, you will NEVER EVER want to eat in Macdonalds again.
For example, the author tells the story of how one man has worked in Macdonalds for so long, he cannot (literally) get the smell of Macdonalds out of his skin. No matter what he tries, even if he showers for hours, it won't go away. So if he goes to a party or for a job interview, he will smell of burgers and fries.
Read it for yourself and you'll see.
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on 25 August 2003
How has MacDonald’s and other fast food chains monopolised the world’s eating habits? Is it just because the food is cheap and “tasty”?
How many times have you stepped into MacDonald’s to buy some chips or a chicken burger, for instance? How harmless is it to eat this cheap, fast consumer food? Do you always wonder how the French fries here taste very different from what you make at home? Do you have wonder why the happy meals for children are so inexpensive? Well, this book by Schlosser (an American journalist in which this is his first publication) answers those niggling questions.
Schlosser introduces us to the background of the founders of MacDonald’s and other world famous fast food outlets, for example Pizza Hut, Taco Bell and Subway. Not only have they radically changed the restaurant business but have also revolutionised business techniques in order to minimise costs.
The book exposes some horrifying truths about what really goes on behind the scenes of the counter’ s “friendly” smiles and often “Have a good day” attitude! I will state a few shocking truths that were evidently revealed in the book. But if you are interested to know more, I strongly recommend that you read it for yourselves.
Have you ever noticed how young the staff that these fast food chains employ? More often than not, fast food employees, including that of the manager, are in their teens or early twenties. Moreover, how many times have you seen the same staff there? Mr Schlosser claims that the reason for such young employees and the high level of turnover within this industry is that younger employees tend to settle for minimum wages and are not particularly interested in long-term careers. Furthermore, neither are they concerned about medical insurance or pension schemes, which of course, costs money. They are less likely to complain about their conditions and the fact that they are not trained in any specific skills alike to most restaurant business staff!
The USA, often cited as “the land of opportunities”, attracts people from all over the world to earn money to fund their families abroad. Schlosser states that in Mexico, Central America and South East Asia, it was advertised in the 1980s, that workers could come to work in Colorado for the meat-producing industry. Although the pay was of a minimum wage in America, for those who come from overseas it is a much more attractive salary. Consequently, despite the abhorrent working conditions of the meat-producing industry, they were able to attract a number of illegal immigrants who were neither fluent in English nor aware of their working rights. This obviously led to great exploitation of the workers, with the conditions, as horrifically observed by Schlosser, being often extremely dangerous and in some circumstances life-threatening. Moreover, the doctors, provided by the company to foresee any work-related injuries, were employed by the meat-producing industry themselves and thus had their own jobs on the line if such workers were not returned back to work as soon as possible. What kind of life is this?
As well as providing a behind the scenes’ view of how they treat their employees, Schlosser provides an insight into how the fast food industry hides both the way its food is prepared and its content. Indeed, you may have questioned in the past why the chips from MacDonald’s taste different from other fries manufactured? Well, as most of you probably know, they are fried in beef tallow (lard), which gives them that distinguishable flavour. Moreover, Schlosser explains how the cows are fed with grain as opposed to their usual staple diet of hay/grass which provides the bulkiness in the cow and ultimately the leanness in your burger. Schlosser further elaborates on exactly what we are putting into our bodies and provides some distasteful insights which will ensure that you will never place a MacDonald’s product into your mouth again. Schlosser also provides numerous examples of the worldwide outcry towards such information and explains how such has altered the cooking practices now undertaken. For instance, when it was known that MacDonald’s fried their chips in beef tallow this caused a huge uproar, particularly in those countries/cultures who do not eat beef (for example, India). Accordingly MacDonald’s changed their ways of cooking their fries of which are now (apparently?) only cooked in vegetable oil. However, hopefully, this is just the beginning of a transformation of the fast food industry, in terms of its transparency, and future sources alike to Schlosser’s “Fast Food Nation” will add towards a more honest and humanitarian approach in terms of how they treat both their workers and consumers.
I could continue talking further the monstrosities about the food industry but if you are truly interested to know more, pick up this book and I can guarantee that it will change the way you view these multi-national corporations for the rest of your life.
I became vegetarian after reading this and will never enter another fast food place ever again!
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FAST FOOD NATION is one of those true life tales that's as hard to put down as an edge-of-your-seat thriller. It's Eric Schlosser's detailed and eminently readable portrait of the American fast food industry: its founders (most notably Ray Kroc and Carl Karcher), its Southern California evolution, marketing strategy (especially as it targets kids), corporate alliances (e.g. McDonald's with Disney Corporation), hiring and employment practices, franchising structure, food product design, flavor and color additives, food growers and processors, meat packers, food contamination, job-related injuries, union relations, regulatory agencies, and overseas operations. Everything you're drooling to know - and then some. It sounds dry, but isn't.
Did you know that Ray Kroc was so fastidious that he cleaned the holes in his mop wringer with a toothbrush? That the "smell" of strawberry results from the interaction of at least 350 different chemicals? That perfectly sliced french fries are formed by shooting the skinned spud from a high pressure water hose at 117 feet per second through a grid of blades? That none of the workers in McDonald's roughly 15,000 North American stores is represented by a union? Or that every day in the U.S. roughly 200,000 people are sickened by a foodborne disease, of which 900 are hospitalized and 14 die?
The dominant tone of Schlosser's narrative ranges from neutral to strongly censuring. By my count, only thrice did he write something clearly positive about a fast food giant: the good wages paid by the In 'n' Out chain, the improvements in beef procurement by Jack In the Box following a 1993 outbreak of E. coli contamination at several of its outlets, and the current effort by McDonald's to clean up its meat suppliers' acts following some very bad lawsuit-generated PR. (Of course, the cynic will say it's only self-serving damage control.) So, either the industry is truly in need of reform, or the author is a closet anti-Big Business activist. You must decide for yourself. In any case, FAST FOOD NATION didn't turn me against fast food. Why, right now I'm endeavoring to keep the "secret sauce" from dripping onto my keyboard, and I can hardly see the screen for the smears of fried chicken grease.
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on 8 July 2015
Makes us realise what crap we eat
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