I am not a fan of this movie for one simple reason:
I believe in personal responsibility.
If you really are stupid enough to go out to McDonald's to eat three times a day and ingest upwards and above 6000 calories a day while doing nothing else to mitigate those effects (i.e. exercise), of course you're going to feel like crap. Should the fast food industry be blamed for your lack of self control? I don't think so. Is the population of North America stupid enough to believe that fast food is good for you, has much nutritional value? Gawd, I hope not. If it is, I hardly blame the fast food industry for stupidity.
The point is that "we" have become so incredibly lazy that we think we can eat there with no net effect and that is just plain wrong. I don't believe we need the government to restrict fast food any more than we need to restrict sugar or alcohol or anything else. Mind you, I really find all the smoking bans to be rather humorous after you distill down the actual real epidemiological statistics behind those 'damning' studies. Still, I benefit from the bans, so I'm a bit of a hypocrite anyway.
What should be the take away message from this movie? If you eat nothing but McDonald's for 30 straight days you'll feel like crap and your health will suffer. That deserves anything more than a Well, Duh
? I sure hope not.
While I'm at it, and admitting I have not poured through all of Fast Food Nation, there are distinct parts I disagree with in FFN. Schlosser may well have some accurate points but he often disregards a great many things that are approved of by the FDA. Notably in the initial review that Scott linked, there is an all too typical 'scare' statement about feces literally being in your food. It's scary only in the sense that the public is so literally disconnected with food production as to find it scary. There are tolerances for just about everything in food production, from sh!t to bugs to pesticides that are allowed. If you think food can be grown absolutely in a pristine environment, I would suggest you get your ass out of town and onto a farm real quickly. Also take the time to consider how much you're willing to pay for food. While you're at it, contemplate that organic food is not pesticide free and is not nearly so well regulated as conventional farming. Also consider the notion of factory farm/corporate farm versus family farm and tell me what the dividing line is. You can thank the litigenous folks in the good old US of A for creating corporate farms, often one way to avoid that litigation or at least be able to protect yourself from it.
There are valid points in FFN and food production can be done better. But in many respect Schlosser misses the point. The factory line food production in McD's often results in the least likelihood of transferring harmful bacteris (Salmonella, E. Coli
, etc.) to your food. Remember, reducing pathogens is a bad thing. Right?
There's a guy I used to work with that refers to modern urbanites as 'the worried well'. He's right, we fear what we don't know. Here's a tidbit for ya, the allowable percentage limit for insect parts in processed vegetables is greater than 5%. Enjoy your supper.