McDonald's, the meat industry, and chickens

The whole industrial food system really began with fast food. In the 1930’s a new form of restaurant arouse and it was called the drive-in. The McDonald brothers have a very successful drive-in but they’ve decided to cut costs and simplify. So they fired all their carhops, they got rid of most of the things on the menu and they created a revolutionary idea of how to run a restaurant and they basically brought the factory system to the back of a restaurant kitchen. They trained each worker to just do one thing, again and again and again. By having workers who only had to do one thing, they could pay them low wage and it was very easy to find someone to replace them. It was inexpensive food, it tasted good and this McDonald’s fast food restaurant was a huge huge success.

That mentality of uniformity, conformity and cheapness applied widely and on a large scale has all kinds of unintended consequences. When McDonald’s is the largest purchaser of ground beef in United States and they want their hamburgers to taste everywhere exactly the same, they change how ground beef is produced. The McDonald’s corporation is the largest producer of potatoes and one of largest producer of pork, chicken, tomatoes,lettuce, even apples. This big big fast food chains want big suppliers. And now there are essentially a handful companies controlling our food system.
In the 1970’s the top 5 beef packers controlled only about 25% of the market.
Today the top 4 control more than 80% of the market. You see the same thing happening now in pork.
Even if you don’t eat at a fast food restaurant you are now eating meat that is being
produced by this system.You look at the labels and you see farmer this, farmer that; it’s really just 3 or 4 companies that are controlling the meat.
“We’d never had food companies this big and this powerful in our history”.
Tyson for example is the biggest meat-packing company in the history of the world
The industry changed the entire way the chicken are raised
Birds are now raised and slaughtered in half the time they were 50 years ago,
but now they're twice as big. People like to eat white meat so they redesigned the chicken to have large breasts.
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