About Fast Food

About fast food

Fast Food Nation is now out on DVD. It is based on Eric Schlosser’s non-fiction bestseller (see below). The film boasts an all-star ensemble cast that includes Kris Kristofferson, Wilmer Valderrama, Ethan Hawke, Patricia Arquette and veggie idol, Avril Lavigne. The New York Times called it “the most important political film from an American director since Michael Moore’s ‘Fahrenheit 9/11’.” Extras include all three of the excellent Meatrix videos and a commentary with Schlosser and director Richard Linklater. View the trailer.

Amazon rating: ****1/2 out of 5.
Customers say: “One assumes with any book like this that animal rights issues will crop up, but these – cruelty to the livestock with overfeeding, overcrowding – are only the tip of the iceberg. Seemingly far worse, and more personally devastating, are the gruesome working conditions of the employees. Slave wages, injury without compensation, blatant harassment, and the sanitation conditions of the slaughterhouses, restaurants, and cafeteria are obscene.” “Meticulously researched with a massive sixty-three page detailed notes section.”Purchase from Amazon.ca

Unhappy Meals: For a stomach-churning critique of the health and labour practices of the burger business read salon.com’s Unhappy Meals article. Here is an excerpt:

“Every month more than 90 percent of American children eat at McDonald’s; the average American eats three hamburgers every week. What’s in all those hamburgers? They’re most likely made from the meat of worn-out dairy cows (generally the least healthy cattle stock), which spend their days packed in feedlots full of pools of manure. Each burger contains parts of dozens or even hundreds of cows, increasing the likelihood that a sick one will spread its pathogens widely. Cows, by nature designed to be herbivorous, are fed “livestock waste” – rendered remains of dead horses, pigs and poultry.”

Also see: Would you like ground spinal cord with that? The author of “Fast Food Nation” says you just might not want to know what the burger giants are serving.


Burger King takes “historic” step towards animal welfare
March 29, 2007

In what many animal welfare advocates describe as a “historic advance,” Burger King has announced that they will begin buying 2% of their eggs and 10% of their pork from suppliers that do not confine their animals in cages and crates. The decision will apply to the US and Canada. Full story >>.

The debate over wearing latex gloves vs hand washing.
March 14, 2007

Hands contains millions of bacteria, including harmful ones like staph and strep. Gloves can prevent most of those bacteria from being transmitted to food. But only if the gloves are clean. “The problem is that a worker may never change the gloves or clean them, thinking that the gloves themselves are sufficient protection.”

Thousands of United States restaurant workers were surveyed for a study published in the International Journal of Hygiene and Environmental Health in 2005. More than a third said they did not always change their gloves between touching raw meat or poultry and ready-to-eat food.

Moreover, most gloves are made of latex that can cause allergic reactions. As a result, three states have banned latex gloves in restaurants. Vinyl is not much better.

“The reason that workers wear gloves is that they don’t wash their hands as much as they should,” said Denise Korniewicz, a professor who has studied the efficacy of rubber gloves for more than 20 years. “If you walk into any fast-food restaurant and observe people, they use the cash register, they wipe their nose and then they make your sandwich.”

“When your hands are bare you can tell if you get something on them, and you immediately wash,” said Debra Silva, who owns a seafood restaurant in Provincetown, Mass. “But if you’re wearing gloves, you might have no idea that you’ve touched something dirty.” Ms. Silva said she spends thousands of dollars a year on gloves.

From the New York Times: Latex, Vinyl, or Soap? (paid link)

Doctors group sues fast-food chains for carcinogenic chicken
Sept. 28, 2006

A grilled chicken sandwich from a fast-food restaurant can cause cancer, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine charged in a lawsuit filed against seven fast-food chains: McDonald’s, Burger King, Chick-fil-A, Chili’s, Applebee’s, Outback Steakhouse, and TGI Friday’s.

An independent lab had found a dangerous carcinogenic compound called PhIP in grilled chicken samples taken from the restaurants. PhIP is one of a group of carcinogenic compounds found in grilled meat. The compound has been listed on the California governor’s list of cancer-causing chemicals for more than a decade. Link to full report.

Bk Veggie launch

After targeting Burger King, PETA celebrated victory. In June 2001, Burger King added the BK Veggie Burger to all North American locations (over 8000).