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|Fast Food’s Lies|
Makinzie Mills, Xavi Maestas, Sara Julian, Amy Woodland
December 6th, 2011
Fast Food’s Lies
“Over the course of human history, we were struggling to make sure we had enough food and calories for a sizable percentage of the human race.” (Food Inc., 2008). The way we eat has dramatically changed throughout the years. Restaurants and fast food chains have made us think we need larger portions for cheaper prices. Many factors are to blame for the health and money problems in the world. Animals are treated as product, not as a living thing. Most people are not aware of what is in their food and consume it anyway. Our government is not keeping our food safe and is not regulating the process’s our food goes through. Consumers choose cheap, fast food over going to the store for healthier food. People aren’t aware of the companies that make their food and the process it goes through. Companies hide nutritional information from their customers and advertise to directly target customers. Fast food is having a harmful effect on the world, we should be able to control where our food comes from and not have to worry about the process it goes through before it gets to us. Companies and governments shouldn’t have the right to profit off of our indulgences and health risk issues. How long are we going to tolerate their lies and controlling nature?
The animal used to make your hamburger, from your favorite fast food restaurant, may not be what you think it is. That meat you’re eating is possibly from many different animals. Animals are now genetically changed so that they gain weight faster than their bodies can handle.
Based on the high levels of carbon and nitrogen isotopes found in the meat products, the author claims that the cattle and poultry were predominantly fed corn, which makes them as fat as possible in as short time as possible, and were raised in extreme confinement. (Ruiz, 2008, Pg.1)
These slaughterhouses are much more like an assembly line than a farm. Animals live in their own feces and dead animals are among the living. There are so many animals enclosed in a small area that at some points there is not food available to some of the livestock. This makes the animals turn to eating their own feces, which as stated before, is covering the ground in their pens. E-coli can infect a cow and spread very quickly to the rest of the herd through these feces. This is unhealthy to the animals and anybody who comes in contact with this area or food produced by these animals. .
In addition to the health issues that are due to the treatment of animals, owners of fast food corporations make huge profits while their workers make minimum wage. These workers also hardly receive any benefits. With the money that these companies make daily, how can these companies pay so little to their workers? These companies should not be allowed to unfairly pay their workers while they rake in the cash. When the companies are directly asked these questions, their most common response is, “Pizza Hut doesn’t have money for raises and we simply can’t compensate you for the cost of delivering our products” (The Economics of the Fast Food Industry, 2008, p.2). Companies are using people to make a profit. They choose exactly how much to pay, while knowing how much of a deficit there is between how many hours you put in and how much you pay for it. Many of the “important” people in government who have a say in food related issues are owners or have some part in a fast food corporation. These people have accepted laws that make the food industry almost untouchable by the government, making it so even the government isn’t allowed to shut them down. “In 1972 the FDA conducted around 50,000 food safety inspections, in 2006 only 9,164” (Food Inc, 2008). This shows the decrease in government-related checks on the food industry.
At dinner time, many working people don’t feel like they have the time or money to prepare a home cooked meal. The dollar menu begins to look really good because it’s cheap and you can get a lot for a little. In the end this is the wrong decision. You can easily get much for food for much less money from the grocery store.
“That same $14.00 will purchase two pounds of lean ground beef, a pack of eight whole wheat buns, lettuce, tomato and enough potatoes to make oven baked French fries and salad ingredients with money left over for some fresh fruit. The best part is that this is twice as much food as at McDonald’s, so there’s plenty of leftovers later” (Harlan, 2011, Pg. 1).
The assumption that buying off the dollar menu is cheaper for your family is incorrect. Another part of this is that the calories you get from having dinner from a fast food restaurant is much larger than what you’d have from eating a home cooked meal. As well as the types of calories you are eating, fast food contains much more fat and grease than you would think. “The fried Macaroni and Cheese from the Cheesecake Factory? Try 1,570 calories - according to health experts, you’re better off eating a stick of butter” (Gregory, 2009, Pg. 1). Anything besides eating fast food is better. Though eating food from the grocery food is better for you, it is much more expensive, leading to the people with lower incomes, becoming more obese than those who are able to prepare their own food.
The ways that fast food companies advertise their product is very enticing, targeting us at meal time and even targeting kids to force parents to go there. They also try to trick us by changing the number of calories and fat grams. $4.2 billion dollars was spent on marketing and advertising fast food products in 2010. This is a ridiculous amount of money spent in times of “depression” in the United States. This shows how profitable the fast food industry is even while everyone else is down. T.V. commercial ads are increasingly targeting kids, the next generation of consumers. This is increasing the times a week parents are forced to take kids to their favorite fast food restaurants. Which is even imprinting into young children’s minds so that they are comfortable with the fast food restaurants throughout their lives. “One- third of U.S. children and teens eat fast food everyday, which makes up about 17% of their calorie intake” (Lazaris, 2010, Pg.1) Fast food is becoming a part of every persons life. Even as young children, it will always be in their lives, possibly with increasing consequences in the future. Recently, there was a federal bill that was pushed to make it so that calories would be visible near where food was purchased. “The industry claimed menu postings would be a costly logistical burden and would clutter valuable real estate on the menus” (Gregory, 2009, Pg.1) So what this means is that they don’t want to lose money from it. “They’re concerned that consumers will be turned off by what they see”(Gregory, 2009, Pg.2). The food industry is fighting against choices that would ultimately help improve health, just because they’d lose some percent of profit. It’s wrong that this is being allowed and that even the U.S. government won’t do anything about it.
These issues are very controversial, but only between the aware consumers and the fast food corporations. What unaware consumers don’t see are the long term health effects including, diabetes, obesity, heart disease, and at some point, even death. Fast food companies have been targeted in the past about how they treat the animals. Audits for humanity have been put on these companies enforcing regulation. These are clearly not being followed as there are still reports of mass crowding and pens filled with feces. Even if there have been audits, they haven’t affected what the companies are doing. Companies are paying CEO’s and higher ranked bosses more and more money, as their workers continue to get minimum wage. This is obviously wrong and can only be stopped by the workers going against the companies. Without their workers the companies would easily run out of business, owners could not take over the location and run it on their own. Which would cause the companies to have to do something about it. We know that by the profits of the fast food company that they are obviously capable of raising the pay of their workers, but just don’t want to lose profit.
Many have tried to do something about the different problems in the food industry but have failed. There are simply not enough organized, aware people who are helping work against them. Many claim that self control is the ultimate solution to this problem and that people just need to stop eating what they know is bad for them. “What’s needed instead are broader scale policy fixes that promote healthier foods and behaviors across American society” (Murray, 2001, Pg. 1). The obvious fixes are limiting the ads we put on T.V., and putting healthier foods into schools. When ads are limited, less people will be wanting to go to the fast food stores. Healthier foods in schools will help by not giving kids a choice to eat what is wrong for them. Fast food companies are currently targeting kids especially for future business and this would significantly cut this off. Another thing that needs to be done is the government needs to gain back control of the industry. The food industry seems to think that they are the ones in control because they control the well being of the world, this is not true. All they are focused on is profit, when the government is filled with people who help run the food industry things aren’t going to go anywhere. Each bill pushed by the consumers will be immediately shut down, we need to get these food industry owners out of the government and promote health plans to the government. This will increase global health as they lose the ability to feed us just whatever they want. Our food would also become safer. If fast food companies treated animals that are being used for food better, it would increase the quality of food. We would stop seeing E-coli out breaks in food and other harmful problems. Conditions of the animals need to be
kept in good condition, which should be another mandatory, enforced, regulation. Right now fast-food is visibly cheaper than the food we can get at the grocery store. This needs to change, healthy foods need to be the ones that are over produced and in great abundance. This would change the idea that the only thing people can afford is the dollar menu. By making people choose the grocery store instead of the local fast food restaurant, would greatly increase the health of consumers.
This is a huge problem for every person in the world who has access to fast food, even if you don’t eat it, somebody you know and love will be the victim. There are so many factors going into the way fast food is affecting all of us. Fast food is having a harmful effect on the world. Animals are treated as product, not as a living thing. Most people are not aware of what is in their food and consume it anyway. Our government is not keeping our food safe and is not regulating the process’s our food goes through. Consumers choose cheap, fast food over going to the store for healthier food. People aren’t aware of the companies that make their food and the process’s it goes through. Companies hide nutritional information from their customers and advertise to directly target customers. But the real question is should companies and governments be able to control what people consume?
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|As well as being dedicated to the memory of George Julian Harney, this text is also dedicated to the memory of Albert Standley, a pioneer of modern Republicanism|