Sarah B.'s Reviews > Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal

Fast Food Nation by Eric Schlosser
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May 02, 2010

really liked it
Recommended to Sarah by: Merri Su
Recommended for: People who liked The Omnivore's Dilemma
Read in April, 2010 , read count: 1

** spoiler alert ** I'm interested in the food industry and in the politics of food, so I guess I was predisposed to like this book. Although I consider myself a relatively well-informed food consumer, Schlosser goes into a level of detail that surpassed my casual reading so far. I learned about some of the history of the food production industry, such as the industrial trusts that conspired to end small businesses in the 1920s, and had to be broken by government action -- only to replaced almost a hundred years later by a few gigantic companies that have a near-monopoly on the industry. I learned about food flavour additives, and the real difference between natural and artificial flavours. I learned about how dangerous meat processing really is for the people who work in the plants. Most of what Schlosser researched is, obviously, relevant to all the food that most people eat through all channels, not just fast food. This book is more of a study of modern food science and the food industry than it is of fast food specifically (although the chapter on the effects of the largest restaurant chains on the labour market did apply mostly to fast food chains).

If we are going to compare this book to other works that came after it (most reviewers compare it to Supersize Me), I would compare it to The Omnivore's Dilemma, which picks up where this book leaves off. I like this book more, personally, because of the level of research. Because I already don't eat fast food, this was a good review of the effects of capitalism's dark shadow, monopoly, on the food chain. Pollan's book takes this idea even further, exploring the same trends as they influence even seemingly healthy foods. Recommended.
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