Subway, I am crossing you off my list of places to patronize. I cannot condone your recently announced decision to remove meat that is not certified antibiotic free.
Readers, did you know the USDA monitors and verifies there are no antibiotics present in processed and commercially sold meat? If not, you do now.
Apparently, Subway did not get the memo, either.
So, what is all the fuss over this issue? One word answers: misinformation; motive; fear; profit.
Katie Sawyer, a farmer from McPher?son County, writing for kansaslivingmagazine.com, offers a personal perspec?tive regarding the use of antibiotics in animals. Humane treatment of animals is paramount in her defense of judicious use of antibiotics. Use this link to access her bio and articles: kansaslivingmaga?zine.com/ authors/katie-sawyer.
Use of misinformation by the antibiotic free movement provokes a sense of fear among consumers who are influenced by social media and are motivated to act, believing they are doing the right thing.
Nobody wants to eat ?contaminated? meat that is ?unhealthy,? right? Nobody wants to give their children food that may harm them, right? So, how do you know which foods are safe? The answer is simple, and it comes later in this column.
The real kicker is, consumers trust social media to tell the ?truth? about everything, and have been told to distrust scientifically sound research and data, because they are allegedly funded by profit-driven corporations.
The motive for using misinformation depends on the group. An animal rights group like PETA uses fear and misinformation to create energy behind legislative action. An antibiotic-free activist group uses misinformation and fear to create distrust with the USDA and ?Corporate Ag? to create concern over food safety issues, steering the consumer in the direction of allegedly safer food source alternatives.
Consumers also learn to distrust government oversight to regulate and monitor the safety of food. So, who can they trust but their personal ?friends? in the blogosphere, yet they have no clue as to their real motive, knowledge or expertise in making nutritional guidelines.
Subway is a for-profit corporation merchandising food to consumers. Its motive is profit-based. Sales have declined and this is one attempt to recapture market share.
Sadly, the chain of events that led up to Subway?s decision effects a local establishment. I have always believed in patronizing local businesses when I can. I now have to rethink that strategy, qualifying a business?s ?patronage worthy? status, based on its acceptance and patronage of traditional agriculture.
Subway no longer trusts the regulatory authority and responsibility of the USDA?s monitoring processes, and believes its future is best served by submitting to the demands of antibiotic-free activists, whose interests are questionable, at best. They believe that misinformation best serves their interests in the marketplace.
There is a sense of irony in their decision. Every napkin dispensed with a sub sandwich displays the nutritional value of Subway?s products and compares them to their competitor?s products. It is based on nutritionally valid, scientifically based data. Yet, there is no verifiable data that backs up their latest decision to offer ?antibiotic free? meat as the safest product in the market.
They cannot have it both ways. Or can they?
That depends on whether the consumer is fully informed and relies on intelligent information gathering, or whether the consumer believes everything he or she reads in social media without thinking for themselves.
That is my answer to the question, ?How do you know that our food is safe??
Paul Penner, former president of the National Association of Wheat Growers, farms in the Hillsboro area. He has been active statewide and nationally regarding agricultural legislation.