Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Fall 2002


Published in Great Plains Research 12:2 (Fall 2002). Copyright © 2002 Center for Great Plains Studies.


American fast food has come to symbolize runaway capitalism, pointless pop culture, and callous globalization. It is bad for the environment, bad for workers, and bad for consumers. This industry supports meatpacking firms-some of the largest are now located in the Great Plains-that are heavy polluters and rely on a labor force consisting largely of immigrant workers who receive few, if any, health or medical benefits, even though their work is some of the most dangerous in the US. Fast food restaurants are the signifiers of urban sprawl which threatens precious farm and ranch lands in the Great Plains and elsewhere. Employees of these restaurants are often teenagers who are abandoning homework to work nights and weekends. The food has killed children and made many adults sick. These are just a few negative aspects of the fast food industry Eric Schlosser elucidates in Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal.