4.13.2005

Late to the Dance: My Reading of Fast Food Nation

There is shit in the meat.

The above sentence kept me up at night and stopped me from reading Fast Food Nation, by Eric Schlosser. It appears on page 197, in chapter 9, which is titled "what's in the meat." Since then, mi chavo started reading the book and because of my competitive nature (I like to learn from books myself instead of learning from someone who has already taken the time to read books), I started reading it again today. I realize now that since I do the majority of my book reading during my hour lunch break, this book is not exactly the best one to be reading. It was amusing when I took the book to McDonald's, where I ate breakfast while learning about the history of fast food companies. Now that I'm actually reading about rendering and feed lots and E. Coli, it's not exactly the most pleasant book to have around during mastication.

Its an amazing book. The cover tells me that over one million copies have been sold. I'm sure they have - I've seen the book everywhere. Let's say half the people who buy the book actually read it. (Hey, we all know people buy a ton more books than they read. Just look at my collection for proof.) If half a million people have read this book, where's the outrage? Where's the change in the meat processing industry? I'm relatively sure half a million people didn't have to read The Jungle before Upton Sinclair's expose caused President Theodore Roosevelt to create new standards for meat packing back in the early 1900s. Where or where is our presidential leadership on this subject?

How I forget. Shrub's a good ol' boy with a farm. And good ol' boys think it is okay to feed feces, dead pigs, dead poultry and dead horses to cows. Cows - those animals with four stomachs to process grass, who would never choose to eat dead animals - are eating dead pigs, poultry, horses, and their shit. Oh, and poultry are being fed dead cows.

Another delightful tidbit: according to Charles Gerba, a microbiologist at the University of Arizona, "You'd be better off eating a carrot stick that fell into your toilet than one that fell in your sink." (page 221) That's because of the large amount of shit in ground beef.

Talk about powerful writing. This stuff is definitely having a more significant impact on me than a thriller by Dan Brown...

[cross-posted from angelheaded hipster.]