So, what exactly is "fast food"? According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, " fast- food" is food that is designed for ready availability, use, or consumption and with little consideration given to quality or significance. So, is there even a link between fast food and its technology with ethics? At first, I thought "what I am thinking? I'll never be able to find any information linking the two." To my surprise, there is a plethora of information regarding fast food... And, due to the large number of restaurant chains today, I will mainly focus on McDonald's, perhaps the most popular fast food restaurant today.
From humble beginnings in 1955, McDonald’s grew steadily until 1980, when it had 5,213 outlets in the United States. Then, as capital moved into hyper-drive during the age of Reagan, McDonald’s took off, reaching its current level of 12,000+ domestic outlets and another 8,000+ abroad. By 1996, the pace of McDonald’s growth was impressive even by the standards of the times. The Wall Street Journal put it in a headline: the company "wants to run over its competition with a Mack Truck." (1) With the number of actual outlets, specific issues will depend from outlet to outlet. However, in general, the professional issues regarding this case mainly deals with food quality issues. These range from the technology in processing the food to store sanitary policies.
First, take the production of the famous McDonald's French fry. During the chain's early years French fries were made from scratch every day. Russet Burbank potatoes were peeled, cut into shoestrings, and fried in McDonald's kitchens. As the chain expanded nationwide, in the mid-1960s, it sought to cut labor costs, reduce the number of suppliers, and ensure that its fries tasted the same at every restaurant. McDonald's began switching to frozen French fries in 1966 -- and few customers noticed the difference. Nevertheless, the change had a profound effect on the nation's agriculture and diet. With technology, a familiar food had been transformed into a highly processed industrial commodity. McDonald's fries now come from huge manufacturing plants that can peel, slice, cook, and freeze two million pounds of potatoes a day. (2)
One starts to think, are these frozen potatoes good for one's body? What is the nutritional value of those French fries? "Oxidized" cholesterol is a type of cholesterol found in fried and processed foods, such as French fries and much of everything else on a fast food menu. It is a particularly harmful form of fat and could speed the clogging of arteries and increase the risk of heart disease, according to researchers at the San Francisco Veterans Affairs Medical Center (SFVAMC) and UCSF. (3) So, one must consider these executive decisions that McDonald's has made. Have these decisions been "consistent with the values of a particular profession," in this case, food industry? (4)
Because the rapid expansion of...