The development of the fast food factory has led to the standardization of the American culture, urban sprawl and, most detrimentally, increasing rates of obesity. Seventy-five percent of Americans suffer from obesity and diseases related to it. To make matters worse, this index is only expected to increase as fast food focused diets continue to run rampant. Considering America's hectic lifestyle and changes in eating habits and tastes, the demand has grown for wholesome alternatives to fast food. This is not only out of response to consumer demand, but also in acknowledgement of the warnings of health professionals.
However, this is easier said than done. With deep roots in the country's economy, culture and architecture, the fast food industry has been woven into the fabric of America's identity. It cannot simply be removed without noticeable and irreparable damage. The primary consequences would be unemployment and economic stagnation. The fast food industry is quite a profitable economic force, with $200 billion in annual income. Two thirds of America's workers are fast food factory employees. About seventy-five percent of them are teenagers. Consumer interests would feel the brunt as well. One out of three Americans opts for a cheap and quick meal in fast food establishments. Lurking behind these statistics is the fact that fast food has penetrated into the American lifestyle to such an extent that it has led to an unhealthy dependence.
Most often no particular attention is given to the quality of food, as fast food's deceptive benefits, such as time-saving, home food delivery and affordability, make it so easy to disregard the downsides. Food quality is strongly affected by companies' attempts to cut corners. The majority of fast food companies have moved their meatpacking plants to suburb areas for the sake of cost. Often times, instead of qualified specialists, immigrants are hired allowing the company to illegally save on wages. At times, fast food factory working conditions don't meet safety requirements, resulting in twenty-five percent of workers being injured in the workplace. Nevertheless there seems to be a complete lack of federal investigation in this lawless industry. With such industrial power, the fast food industry can lift any restrictions imposed, skirting around legal issues and tampering with the quality of what Americans are eating and feeding their children.