Unfortunately, Subway has succumbed to much of the popular fear-based marketing tactics we have seen recently in regards to antibiotics in meat. As a farmer, I am so frustrated by the fear marketing that is so prevalent – marketing that not only Subway used but other companies as well. So my top points Subway customers need to know applies to all other food retail companies. 

1. Your meat is safe. Let’s get right to the point. If you go into Subway today to buy a sandwich, the meat you are eating is antibiotic-free. Period. 

2. Farmer’s hands are tied if they are not allowed to give antibiotics. Allowing sick animals with no way of helping them or having more dead animals is not an option. How can anyone expect farmers to sit idly by watching their sick or dying animals? Giving antibiotics is only one tool that we use and we have a duty to provide safe and healthy food. Sick and dead animals are not safe or healthy. 

On our farm, we use a number of preventative measures to help prevents illnesses. Measures such as cleanliness, vaccination program, management techniques, and animal nutrition. Follow this link for more detailed information on what we do to prevent antibiotic usage. 

3. It’s about marketing. There seems to be a real trend in the food marketing world in using food fear. And it’s frustrating. And you, as the customer, are being targeted. What can you do? Do the research, become informed and reach out to other food players such as farmers. Because I am a pig farmer, I have compiled a list of pig farmers you can contact. It’s unfortunate because you really want to trust these companies. But when they push the envelope with questionable marketing tactics, you can’t help but lose some of the trust. Farmers can help answer your questions. 

4. Farmers don’t pump their animals with antibiotics. Farmers use antibiotics only when they need to. And when they do use antibiotics, farmers are required to follow strict FDA withdrawals before our animals are sold. And this is a line we will never cross on our farm. We keep detailed records on which animals receive drugs, along with the date, the reason for the antibiotic, dosage and withdrawal date. I would love to never have to give another antibiotic. That’s why we are continually open to new and better ways to keep our pigs healthy. There is some really exciting research in essential oils, probiotics and enzymes that I hope will offer farmers other health options for pigs. This is a trend that will continue. 

4. Throw in a little GMO fear. Not only are they using the antibiotic issue for fear marketing, but they are also throwing in the GMO issue also.  This was on their Facebook page:

“(from) Subway Thanks for writing Lisa. We have been doing a lot of work to improve and enhance our menu. We have removed some ingredients (azodicarbonamide, High Fructose Corn Syrup) , added some fortifiers (like more whole grain and vitamin D in our bread) and continue to research and roll out more improvements over time. We have verified with all our suppliers that our apple slices, avocado, banana peppers, cucumbers, green peppers, jalapeno peppers, lettuce, mushrooms, pickles, red onions, shredded carrots, spinach and tomatoes, Cheddar, Monterey Cheddar Blend, Parmesan, Pepperjack, Provolone and Swiss cheeses are all non-GMO products. We will continue on our journey to provide our customers with many choices that fit their lifestyles.”

Sound good?

Here is the issue: None of these fruits/vegetables have a GMO version. So why play on the term GMO? Science research has shown GMOs are safe. By referring to all those ingredients as non-GMO, it insinuates that GMOs are not safe.

And that’s just plain wrong and unethical. 

5. Farmers care. Farmers are no different from Subway customers in that they want safe food. We don’t want to eat meat that is contaminated with antibiotics either. That’s why we are so very careful in using antibiotics sparingly. Most of us who raise agricultural animals eat the same meat we sell. We would never want to put our families in any type of danger. We also realize that raising food for other families is a big responsibility and we don’t take it lightly.

safe food
Our Family is Proud to Feed Yours

Please allow us to use the tools we need to do it right by providing safe and healthy food for you. 

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  1. The farmers make a very good point here . As a mother with girls that have certain health issues I have become very concerned about the food we eat and have made a number of changes . I do look for non GMO products and have noticed what Subway is doing here is common and I scratch my head over it . The same with antibiotic and hormone free meat . Animals get sick a lot , it just makes sense to use antibiotics ! As long as the proper procedures are followed we are perfectly safe eating it . But for me hormone free is more important ! For various reasons the most important to me is that my girls have hormone imbalances and I’ve found since eating hormone free beef thier health is better , they feel better now ! We don’t need added hormones ! But here in Canada the chicken and pork is already hormone free ! Then there’s grain fed and organic which I also buy when possible . This to has been promoted poorly I think . We’ve been scared into thinking that the food we’ve been eating for decades isn’t good for us ! we definitely need changes but need to get our education from the original source !

    1. Ellen – I don’t know what type of hormone challenges your daughters face. One hormone that many are concerned about being in their meat is estrogen, and critics say it is that estrogen in meat that is causing earlier puberty in young girls. If it is estrogen that you are concerned about for your daughters, I would encourage you to read this article from the University of Nebraska that talks about the amount of estrogen in meat from beef cattle treated compared to the estrogen levels in cabbage and soy products, as well as the naturally occurring estrogen in the human body. It’s very interesting. I myself struggle with thyroid hormone imbalances, but have no concerns about eating meat. http://newsroom.unl.edu/announce/beef/2846/15997

  2. Actually, a GMO apple was approved earlier this year. Not sure if any are in the market yet, but they will be.

    And I have issues with synthetic vitamins being added to foods (vitamin D in the bread) because our bodies don’t recognize them the same way as natural vitamins.

  3. Instead of antibiotics and non GMO they should be more concerned about the chemicals used to keep the vegetables for weeks! Just my opinion as a small scale livestock producer!

  4. Yay!!! Keep speaking the truth!! The marketing should be stopped….they are misinforming the public…and hurting so many people!!
    I am not a farmer’s wife…but my husband has 35+ years in the Animal Health business…supplying growers via…parent companies….this is a big problem….it “ain’t” the growers…it “ain’t” the pharma companies…..it is the doctor’s over prescribing antibiotics…and the patients not completing and following the instructions for the antibiotics….that is causing any resistance…if there is really such a thing…..ughhhhh!
    Standing by my man,

  5. Cowspiracy.com is all I have to say. Seriously. If we don’t save our earth, what we are eating won’t even be a debate.

  6. I think the farmers are doing a great job, they say dont breathe the air, dont drink the water.. Why are people living longer now, things cant be that bad..

  7. I understand your point of view and myself and many others do not want any animals to suffer. The conern, however, is not about treating sick animals but giving antbotics to animals to promote faster growth. This has been done for 50 years after this was discovered. The problem is there are more and more resistance bacteria including in animals and this poses risk factor if the pathogens infect the human population.

    People are also to blame to for resistance. I had a nurse come in were I work and had a cough. She told me I need to see a doctor for antibotics. We need to stop overusing antibotics and develop resistances.

    1. Thanks Lisa. The FDA has issued a directive that will change the way antibiotics are used. One change is that it will be illegal to give antibiotics to promote growth. On our farm, we have never given our pigs antibiotics to help with growth, nor do I know any other pig farmer that has. And I ask a lot of pig farmers about this. I can’t speak to other agricultural animals. And I agree, we need to be concerned about antibiotic resistant bacteria.

  8. Nobody is picking a bone with antibiotics being given to cure diseases when absolutely necessary. The issue is with overgrown chickens that can’t even stand bc they’ve been given so many growth hormones that they’re so heavy that they’re poor little legs can’t support their body weight. This article is just ignorant propaganda and anyone who believes it needs to read up on the subject. Seriously, educate yourselves on what you’re putting into your bodies. You are what you eat.

    1. I have to agree with you Roxy. And maybe the “fight” isn’t with small farms but the corporate farms that put profit (greed) over safety and concern for consumers.

  9. Pingback: The Friday Five: Et tu, Subway? | Farm Fresh Answers
  10. I have been living in Germany where you have no GMO’S. Our news isn’t CENSORED like in the USA. These GMO’S have never really been tested. You are being lied to from corperations like Monsanto which is the largest pesticide company in the world. Everything from corn to tomatoes and soybean are GMO’S. THESE CORPORATIONS confuse the consumers to thinking there FRANKENSTEIN PRODUCE is safe. How would they know when they claim
    they have LONG TERM TESTING. That’s a lie.
    Monsanto sits high in the Food & Drug Administration so naturally everything is approved that comes out of their labratories.
    Google and find the truth out for yourself. It will scare the hell out of you.
    French scientist snuck into a SALMON FISH FARM and videotaped a worker putting toxics into the manufacturing of fish feed. They confronted him. He was told he was suppose to add a toxic into the feed. There are very small amounts found in the salmon naturally. Not enough to harm anyone. But when the French scientist tested a couple of specimens which they snuck out. It was 1000 times more than allowed. Monsanto is poisoning the American people. Only greed and pulling the wool over the consumers eyes. These people should be locked up but that will never happen. Too many lobbyist that gave too many politicians bought and paid for. America has lost her face and will never get it back.
    So you let Subway and other resturant chains tell you their food is safe. They’re lieing. In their commercial they do not mention NO GMO’S, do they? They just mention no preservatives and no antibiotics. You decide as a consumer. I chose to be GMO free lifestyle. You should too. Think about it.

    1. I would love to see some credible links to your statements. We only have 9 foods approved for GMO technology in the US – no GMO tomatoes.

  11. “Science research has shown GMOs are safe.” — no they (we) haven’t. Every genetically modified organism has been modified in different ways. For example, some organisms have been modified to produce drugs. Sometimes an organism is modified and found to no longer be edible (then back to the drawing board). “Farmers only use antibiotics when they are needed.” Incorrect again. About 40% of antibiotic use is for feed additives. It is common in feedstock. See for example (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK216502/)

    1. I stand by my statement that GMOs that are on the market are safe. There are over 2000 studies that show they are safe. Yes, farmers do use feed that has antibiotics–but only when needed. Antibiotics in feed are not routine and are not in all livestock feed. We only put antibiotics in our feed when our veterinarians deem it necessary.

      1. Wake up Wanda! GMO’s are NOT safe. Use your brain. Genetically altering an organisms natural way is wrong. What your reading is the fact that they test 1 veg. Oh yeah ‘it’s safe?’ They don’t surmount for eating many vegs. Throughout a person’s day and life. GMO’S are not safe, good, or acceptable in any way. ASK yourself this. GMO’s are “genetically modified, why? Why are they modified? BC pesticides, chemicals, etc. Have caused mutations. Do you believe your body wants a GMO Apple? Or could use it naturally, or beneficially in any way? The answer is NO. Our bodies do not know how to process all this crap being sold to the human population. SO understand that GMO’s are not safe, their genetically engineered ….processed….overly toxicated…..chemically enhanced GARBAGE. You need to do some more research.

  12. Thanks for the article. I’ve always wondered about the term wet and dry in terms of the meat we eat. I now understand it means some meat has added tenderizers and some does not. It has absolutely nothing to do with antibiotics and the like

  13. Ma’am, very interesting article. First off a big Thank You to all the American Farmers that keep us fed. Ok, it sounds like your practices are sound to me but I don’t believe all farmers are as careful with antibiotics as you are. Check out this article from Beef Magazine, it’s a good read but pay particular attention to the 7th paragraph down. It goes on talking about “voluntary guidelines” which I know for a fact many farmers are not following.

  14. “Science (*scientific) research has shown that gmos are safe”? Whose scientists? On whose payroll? ……even by the FDA’s standards, safe only equates to the quantity of a chemical a body can process in a given time frame–propylene glycol (no tie to gmo) is one perfect example.

    Any credibility went out the window on that one, bud.

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