Lunch in the Hands of a Twelve Year Old


Years ago, I worked at a newspaper where the publisher pointed out, that for all the effort going into producing a quality news product, the finished result was placed into the hands of a 12 year-old carrier for delivery.

I’ve considered this same concept when it comes to where I buy my food.  We tend to view restaurants from a top-down perspective. We think of Colonel Sanders carefully balancing his special herbs and spices back there in the kitchen while his grandchildren hover at the front counter taking care of business.  This is a carefully-crafted image, requiring billions to shape, like the reflex-idea that Ronald McDonald has been inspecting all good-things topping every sundae.  Plus, we assume that our government has dutifully inspected the beef in our burger.  The calories have all been measured and we carefully choose and that’s that.  It’s a treat.  It’s convenient.  Sometimes it’s decadent.

Really, though, you’ve got to work it the other way.

At the drive-through is a 16 year-old handing you a fresh bag of steaming wrapped-stuff and taking your money.  Behind her is a whole fleet of 15 and 16 year olds handling your food, maybe dropping it on the floor and laughing.  They’ve also been flipping crap into the deep frier just to see if it melts, like bugs, pencils, and pennies.  Kids clean the milk shake machine like they clean their bedrooms, stuff like that going on, while the manager is in the back on her cell phone handling a babysitter crisis at home.

Some really bright workers have come through the ranks of the fast food industry, but the front line tends to attract a stratum of society which doesn’t muster much enthusiasm for the work at hand.  While I notice where I place the spatula, others may not take such care.  I mean, no big deal.  But then they’re cleaning-up using buckets and washing buckets and it’s not so easy to see what’s going on with buckets from the other end of the counter.


This small army of individuals, sweating their butts-off for $36 per shift (and slightly pissed about it), extends to the employee changing-out the frier grease for the first time, to the factory workers washing and bagging salad, to the farm hands picking the salad, to the chemical applicators on the farm, newly hired, again.  If you consider all of the hands that go into processing a single chicken-nugget, and that a box of four sell for a dollar, the bird itself would come pretty cheap.  Now we have ultra-cheap chicken feed (you don’t want to know) and chicken head-choppers and disassembly lines and various machinery and chemicals to strip meat from the bone and to soften other carcass ingredients, well, more on the rubbery or the sharp side.

We can’t have a bone fragment in a nugget!

Yet the food industry differs from the newspaper industry, in that, the bulk of the workers ARE willing to work for the wages of a 12 year-old.  How this translates is that your food-product has been handed-off so many times, the chances ARE that it has been contaminated.  The good news is that high heat kills the bacteria that would otherwise make you ill.  The bad news is that even then, handing-off any carefully-crafted food-product 16 year-old by 16 year-old is still too risky.

These risks have been calculated on the basis of “revenue versus expense.”  The expense of negative publicity of customers becoming deathly ill from one restaurant (or rowdy worker) is balanced against sterilizing the entire mess before it reaches your mouth.  Clearly, it is cheaper to spend one penny to sterilize, versus losing the entire sale.  Now if Jack-in-the-Box is killing their customers, that isn’t good for Wendy’s either, so at some juncture they meet at the top, that is, purchasing sterilizers from the same corporations who provide a blanket of security to all.


Now, this is a lot of “hoo-hah writing” to make my point, so it better be worth it, and I assure you that it is, appreciating the big picture, and not a stitch of this is fabricated.

We are still in the process of working this picture backwards, so again, one pulls-up to any drive-through and one can expect at the window, that they will have chicken.  There is a line of cars and every car receives chicken.  Across the street, another restaurant, another line of cars, and all across the city is chicken.  Supply and demand would say that every chicken pressed into a styrofoam box required an actual chicken from a farm (warehouse).  Now, there is an army of 16 year-olds at the deep friers, balanced against huge conveyors of chickens riding out from metal barns, with their feathers and heads off.  It’s all perfectly synchronized like a vast ballet.  What makes it all run is a cashier’s machine.  Ding!  Another dollar!

It makes perfect sense that if they delicately poison the chicken, the money machine will never, ever cease.  But — they poison it just enough to kill microorganisms.  And this they do.  Hamburger and sausage (and eggs) are particularly vulnerable to microorganisms, so they poison that too.  Now the army of boys and girls (and a few parentals) hired at minimum wage, can misbehave as they may, for this too has been calculated and circumvented at the corporate offices of the logo-manufacturer.

Now you eat the food they deliver and you, too, are poisoned, delicately.

The moral of the story is that the fast food industry delivers a sterile product.  Sorry, Chic-Fil-A too.  Subway?  Oh yeah.  The greasiest product on the menu is relatively safe, that is, the french fry, because there is no possibility of germ-contamination.  But the salad and the chicken, pork, and the beef, have been worked through with antibiotics.  These then pass through the customer’s digestive tract like a Brillo Pad, releasing various soaps which likewise suppress a person’s bacterial populations intended to be there by natural design.  These are not germs inside of the body, but critical health-giving allies, which never before have experienced such assault.  These are the oil which lubricate your motor and the sparks which ignite your fuel.  This IS your immune system, in short, delicately poisoned.

The criteria then, is to consume no food which is poisoned to keep the mass-ballet open, for their sake, not yours.  And, the executives at the top of the logo-machine don’t comprehend what they have done to their friends and neighbors.  They merely assume that you want chicken.  You want it hot, you want it at midnight, and you trust it won’t make you ill.  And it won’t, today.  Tomorrow, not so good.  It’s a slow and steady decline.  The chickens and cows are likewise given antibiotics in their feed and they too suffer a health decline, except their impaired wellness has been calculated into their short life spans.

Have you heard?  Medical costs for Americans is reaching $10,000 per person per year.  In 1960, it was $143.  Oh, 1960, when people still ate at home and farmers were like real people.  And really, before antibiotics became a household name.  I mean, the corporate standard.

Name any common illness and it very likely has its roots in antibiotic abuse.  Go on.  Give it a shout.  It all falls like Dominos.

To learn more about the benefits of protecting your internal bacterial support balances, read my book, Inside Poop, available on Amazon or at



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