Eric Schlosser : biography
Eric Schlosser (born August 17, 1959) is an American journalist and author known for investigative journalism, such as in his books Fast Food Nation, Reefer Madness and Chew On This.
Food industry’s reaction to Schlosser’s work
In May 2006, Schlosser and his co-author Charles Wilson released a children’s book entitled Chew On This. The book, along with increasing publicity for the Hollywood movie based on Fast Food Nation, resulted in 18 food industry associations launching the website as part of a major public relations campaign. The site presents statements about health and labor practices in the American beef, pork, dairy, potato and other industries. However, this website is no longer in operation.
When asked how much cooperation the meatpacking and fast food industries lent to his research of Fast Food Nation, Schlosser said the following: "None of the major meatpacking companies allowed me to visit their facilities. McDonald’s was not at all helpful. The industry, on the whole, didn’t roll out a welcome mat. But many of the workers at fast food restaurants and meatpacking plants were eager to talk with me. They felt that their stories had not yet been told, and they wanted the world to know what was happening. Their help made "Fast Food Nation" possible…"
As a result of Schlosser’s criticisms of the food industry, he has been the victim of verbal attacks at book signings and public speaking events that he believes to be the work of citizens employed by large food corporations. He has openly challenged many of the food corporations he feels responsible of tainting America’s food system to public debates regarding their policies and regulations. All such invitations have been declined with the exception of one British McDonald’s executive.
Schlosser was born in Manhattan, New York; he spent his childhood there and in Los Angeles, California. His father Herbert Schlosser, a former Wall Street lawyer who turned to broadcasting later in his career, eventually became the President of NBC in 1974.
Eric Schlosser studied American History at Princeton University and earned a graduate degree in British Imperial History from Oxford.
Schlosser lives in California with his wife Shauna Redford, daughter of Robert Redford, and has two children.
As an aspiring playwright, Schlosser wrote the play Americans in 1985. It deals with the theme of American imperialism at the beginning of the 20th century, and features Leon Czolgosz, William McKinley’s assassin, who shoots the President in anger over U.S. occupation of the Philippines. Americans was produced in 2003, but is not available in the United States. We the People, another play drawing on American history—in this case, the events surrounding the writing of the United States Constitution—followed in 2007.
Schlosser started his career as a journalist with The Atlantic Monthly in Boston, Massachusetts. He quickly gained recognition for his investigative pieces, earning two awards within two years of joining the staff; he won the National Magazine Award for reporting for his two-part series "Reefer Madness" and "Marijuana and the Law" (Atlantic Monthly, August and September, 1994), and he won the Sidney Hillman Foundation award for his article, "In the Strawberry Fields" (Atlantic Monthly, November 19, 1995). In addition to the Atlantic Monthly, Schlosser’s work has appeared in Rolling Stone, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, The New York Times, and The Nation.
Schlosser is known for his bestselling book, Fast Food Nation, an exposé on the unsanitary and discriminatory practices of the fast food industry. Fast Food Nation evolved from a two-part article in Rolling Stone. Schlosser helped adapt his book into a 2006 film directed by Richard Linklater. The film opened November 19, 2006. Schlosser is credited as co-screenwriter and executive producer. He has written Chew On This (2006, with Charles Wilson).