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Top 5 things Subway customers need to know about the company’s antibiotic-free-meat pledge

Farmers are no different from Subway customers in that they want safe food.

To Subway customers:

It’s been a crazy day. Subway (yes, the sandwich company) placed the following statement on their Facebook page:

We’re always working to make our products even better. That’s why we’re transitioning to serve only meats that have never received antibiotics starting in 2016.

As a farmer, I am disappointed in their decision. Here are 5 things you need to know as a customer of Subway:

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1. Your meat is safe. Today and on March 1, 2016. If you go into Subway today to buy a sandwich, the meat you are eating is antibiotic-free. If you go into Subway on January 1, 2016, your sandwich meat will be antibiotic-free. The end result is the same. 

2. Farmers 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, 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. We use antibiotics only when they need to. And when they do use antibiotics, we are required to follow strict FDA withdrawals before our animals are sold. And this is a line we will never cross. We keep detailed records on which animals receive drugs, along with 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. 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 wrong. 

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

Are you looking for more information about Subway’s decision? Check out these additional blogs:

This post was written by Wanda Patsche and originally published on Minnesota Farm Living. Follow Wanda on Twitter: @MinnFarmer.

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