Have you ever made a hard choice to stand up for something you believe in? One choice I have made is to stop eating at Panera Bread. And I am going to be honest, this is hard for me to say because I love eating at Panera Bread! I usually order their pick two menu item, ordering the brocolli cheese soup and one of their signature sandwiches. And they are tasty!
But, no more.
So why am I boycotting Panera Bread? It is because of their latest marketing campaign, which refers to farmers as lazy because they use antibiotics to treat their sick animals. Really? Lazy because we treat sick animals? This is just wrong and evidence Panera Bread is not being straight forward and truthful in their marketing efforts. They also are telling consumers that they buy only antibiotic-free meat. Let me be perfectly clear:
THERE ARE NO ANTIBIOTICS IN ANY MEAT SOLD!
Panera Bread is taking advantage of consumer’s lack of knowledge on antibiotic use in animals and trying to place themselves above other restaurants by claiming they serve antibiotic-free meat. But this marketing campaign is resulting in some very upset farmers. We cannot understand why they would not support us, America’s farmers – some of the hardest working people in this country. How many other people work from morning til night? In fact, last night, we were out in the barn until 11:00 p.m. taking care of baby pigs. And yet, Panera Bread insinuates that farmers are lazy because we give an antibiotic to a pig that is sick? So does that mean we are lazy parents if we give our children an antibiotic too? Granted children are not the same as animals but we are all living beings and deserve humane treatment. Farmers give antibiotics for a specific purpose for specific animals.
As a farmer, any antibiotics that we may give our animals are subject to a withdrawal rate. Our meat packer, Hormel, will NOT buy our animals if there is ANY antibiotic residue. On our farm, we follow very strict drug guidelines and are under the supervision of a veterinarian. For all of these protections in place, I am thankful because I do not want to feed my family food with antibiotics.
|Granddaughters helping in the hog barns!|
My question to Panera Bread is why the backlash against America’s Farmers? Because we are a minority comprising of only 2% of the population and no one will hear us? Is the backlash because of an anticipated gain in more sales? Did you forget where your meat comes from? Why would you treat us in this manner when we feed you and America’s families?
So, Panera Bread, please suspend this marketing campaign and work WITH America’s farmers instead of against us. We are proud to supply safe, healthy and antibiotic-free food for your restaurants, grocery stores and for America’s families.
Think I will order a Domino’s pizza and frozen custard from Culvers – an example of companies that support America’s farmers!
Here are some other great posts that addresses this same issue as well as antibiotic use in livestock:
Dear Panera Bread Company by DairyCarrie
Are Farmers Lazy by SlowMoney Farm
Panera Bread (Or how to pluck an EZ Chicken) by My Other More Exciting Self
Antibiotics in the Meat Supply by Mom at the Meat Counter
Why I’m Furious with Panera Bread by On the Banks of Squaw Creek
Dr. Scott Hurd, Veterinarian
Antibiotic Use in Pork Production
CommonGround – Label Lessons – Antibiotic Free
FoodDialogues – Antibiotics