Now the subject of a film by Richard Linklater, Eric Schlosser's explosive bestseller Fast Food Nation: What the All-American Meal is Doing to the World tells the story of our love affair with fast food.
Britain eats more fast food than any other country in Europe. It looks good, tastes good, and it's cheap. But the real cost never appears on the menu.
Eric Schlosser visits the lab that re-creates the smell of strawberries; examines the safety records of abattoirs; reveals why the fries really taste so good and what lurks between the sesame buns - and shows how fast food is transforming not only our diets but our world.
'Fast Food Nation has lifted the polystyrene lid on the global fast food industry ... and sparked a storm'
'Has wiped that smirk off the Happy Meal ... Thanks to this man, you'll never eat a burger again'
'Startling ... Junk food, we learn, is just that ... left this reader vowing never to set foot in one of those outlets again'
'This book tells you more than you really want to know when you're chomping on that hamburger ... Have a nice day? Listen - you should live so long'
Eric Schlosser is a correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly. His first book, Fast Food Nation, was a major international bestseller. His work has appeared in the Atlantic Monthly, Rolling Stone and the Guardian. He has received a number of journalistic honours, including a National Magazine Award for an Atlantic Review article on the drug trade, which was later adapted into the book Reefer Madness.
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Fast Food Nation, Eric Schlosser's disturbing and timely exploration of one of the world's most controversial industries, has become a massive bestseller in America and rightly deserves to be so this side of the pond. On any given day, one out of four Americans opts for a quick and cheap meal at a fast-food restaurant, without giving either its speed or its cheapness a second thought. Fast food is so ubiquitous that it now seems harmless. But the industry's drive for consolidation, homogenisation and speediness has radically transformed the West's diet, landscape, economy and workforce, often in insidiously destructive ways.
Eric Schlosser, an award-winning journalist, opens his ambitious and ultimately devastating exposé with an introduction to the iconoclasts and high school dropouts, such as Harlan Sanders and the McDonald brothers, who first applied the principles of a factory assembly line to a commercial kitchen. However, he rapidly moves behind the counter to the overworked and underpaid teenage workers, onto the factory farms where the potatoes and beef are grown, and into the slaughterhouses run by giant meatpacking corporations. Schlosser wants you to know why those French fries taste so good (with a visit to the world's largest flavour company) and "what really lurks between those sesame-seed buns". Eater beware: forget your concerns about cholesterol, there is--literally--faeces in your meat.
Schlosser's investigation reaches its frightening peak in the meatpacking plants as he reveals the almost complete lack of regulation. His searing portrayal of the industry is disturbingly similar to Upton Sinclair's The Jungle, written in 1906: nightmare working conditions, union busting and unsanitary practices that introduced E.coli and other pathogens into restaurants, schools and homes. Almost as disturbing is his description of how the industry "both feeds and feeds off the young", insinuating itself into all aspects of children's lives, even the pages of their school books, while leaving them prone to obesity and disease. Fortunately, Schlosser offers some eminently practical remedies. "Eating in the United States should no longer be a form of high-risk behaviour", he writes. Where to begin? Ask yourself, is the true cost of having it "your way" really worth it? --Lesley ReedAbout the Author:
Eric Schlosser is a correspondent for the Atlantic Monthly. He has received a number of journalistic honours, including a National Magazine Award for an Atlantic Review article, Reefer Madness. This is his first book.
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