It did not come as much of a surprise to find that so-called fast food is not the healthiest food in the world. It was certainly no surprise to discover that the fast food chains are not the greatest employers in the world. It wasn’t unexpected to read that the big brands employ so many people that they wield great economic power.
What did, however, surprise and alarm me was the sheer influence Eric Schlosser claims the fast food companies have over the whole food chain and related economies. Is it really in the consumer’s best interests for the large food giants to have such a firm grip on the production of the raw materials that make up their final products? It is suggested that this power has knock-on effects on the health of (not only) consumers but on the shape of the entire economy.
Schlosser’s book makes disturbing reading. It’s unashamedly populist in its approach, suggesting that economic gain and corporate profit are more important than the well-being of the consumers. However, regardless of the author’s standpoint much of the evidence he produces is damming and that makes it a compelling read. If you’ve ever eaten fast food you should read it. It has certainly made me think harder about ordering anything “with fries to go”.