Dust In My Coffee

Dust In My Coffee

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Subway Responds

     This past week Subway announced a move to use food from animals that had never received an antibiotic.  I responded with a blog pondering why Subway would do this.  You can read that Subway blog here.
     It has come to my attention from Anne Burkholder, a highly respected cattle feeder and  blogger, that Subway has added a statement on their website.  This statement follows the original plan of transitioning to using only animals that have never received an antibiotic:

     "That said, we recognize that antibiotics are critical tools for keeping animals healthy and that they should be used responsibly to preserve their effectiveness in veterinary and human medicine. Our policy is that antibiotics can be used to treat, control and prevent disease, but not for growth promotion of farm animals. Accordingly, we are asking our suppliers to do the following:
  • Adopt, implement and comply with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (“FDA’s”) guidance for industry 209 and 213, which requires that medically important antibiotics not be used for growth promotion. Visit the FDA site to learn more.
  • Assure that all antibiotics use is overseen, pre-approved and authorized by a licensed veterinarian before they are administered to any animal.
  • Keep accurate and complete records to track use of all antibiotics.
  • Adhere at all times to all legal requirements governing antibiotic withdrawal times. This assures that antibiotics have been eliminated from the animals’ systems at the time of slaughter.
  • Actively encourage, support and participate in research efforts focused on improving animal health while reducing antibiotics use."
     I join Anne in applauding the upper management of Subway for recognizing the value antibiotics play in the care of animals.   I also join Anne and many others including our veterinarians in the commitment to work together to lead discussions about continuous improvement of the care of animals.  Those discussion include no use of antibiotics for growth promotion that are necessary for human medicine and direct supervision by a veterinarian for the antibiotics used by the end of 2016.  Anne does a great job explaining that in her blog here.

     Subway has not changed their home page as of the writing of this blog and the statement is not very easy to find.   My applause will be hard to hear until the public at large can see that statement as part of their info graphic.

 A screen shot of Subway's home page shows that it has not
been edited as of this writing to show the added statement
of responsible antibiotic use.

     Going forward I encourage you to visit Subway and tell them what you’ve been hearing and reading.  We want to support our local restaurants and for those of us in the rural area that includes Subway.  Keep talking to friends and relatives about what you are eating and encourage them to seek the facts behind the messages.  If you have questions about your food I can direct you to a group of 165 farm women from across the nation that would love to visit with you!  That website is here.    

As a CommonGround volunteer I love to
answer questions moms have about how
their food is raised.
     It’s Sunday and  a great day to have a meal together as a family.  I would like to share with you a delicious roast beef recipe that is easy to make.    You can put this together and then get outside and enjoy the fall weather.   Happy Sunday!

 Simply Delicious Roast Beef
3 pounds Chuck Roast
1 package dry Italian salad dressing
1 package dry Ranch salad dressing
1 package dry Brown gravy mix
2 cups water

Turn oven to 325 degrees.  Sear the roast (brown both sides).  Place roast in roasting dish.  Warm the 2 cups of water in pan used for searing and pour over the roast.  Put seasoning packets in a bowl, mix, pour over the roast and in the water.   Cover.   Bake 3.5 hours in oven or bake in Crock Pot for eight hours on low. (I add an extra cup of water to the oven version)

You can add baby carrots and baby potatoes to the side of the roast.  Another alternative is to add small potatoes to the oven in the last hour of baking.  After skimming the oil you can use the liquid to make a wonderful gravy. 

For more great beef recipes go here.

Friday, October 23, 2015

The Survival of Subway

Our family has long supported the Subway restaurant chain.  It has been pretty easy to eat at Subway since there is a Subway in nearly every town with a population over 3,000.  We appreciate having the choice to go to Subway as an alternative to a meal with French fries when running errands in nearby larger communities.
We also have our favorite sandwiches.  I like the steak and cheese on wheat.  Steve likes the spicy Italian on wheat.  I try to plan chiropractor appointments around lunch time so I can pick up our favorite sandwiches to take home for lunch.  The challenge when I order the sandwiches is to remember what toppings Steve likes since we don’t share the same taste for things like Jalapeno peppers and onions.

Did you know beef can be part of a healthy diet?
Recently Subway made an announcement about the meat products they intend to buy in the future. Subway intends to buy chicken, poultry, pork and beef that has never received an antibiotic.  The question it raises for me is why they are choosing to do this.  I realize the company recently lost Fred Deluca, the CEO and co-founder of Subway in September after battling against Leukemia for more than two years of his life.  My sympathy goes out to the entire Subway family for their loss.

 I also realize that Subway has slipped from its’ number 2 spot to number 3 in regards to sales among restaurant chains.  I have other ideas that I would have recommended like more wrap-style menu items and an appeal to a dining experience versus eating on the run. 

Has Subway decided that in order to gain back that #2 spot, McDonald’s is #1, they need to join restaurants like Chipotle in the way they market their products?  Is it a healthier choice for the consumer to eat only meat that never received an antibiotic?

We use many tools to boost the immune
system.  Sometimes an animal needs an
antibiotic to fully recover from an illness.

As a beef producer, an advocate for beef nutrition and a mom I am concerned about the message this sends to the consumer.  I know how antibiotics are used on our feedlot, other feedlots, ranches and farms through personal experience and friends of mine.  You can read some great blogs on this topic here, here and here

Steve and I discuss the best treatment for this animal and record it.

What I ‘d like to share with that consumer that is confused about antibiotic use in animals is this. Those of us responsible for the care of animals take the use of antibiotics very seriously.   Using antibiotics to reduce animal suffering and provide safe meat for the consumer is evident when we look at the industry improvements through programs like BQA, Beef Quality Assurance.  Similar to the rights in EMT training I learned we make sure to give the right amount at the right time in the right spot with records to trace every animal receiving an antibiotic.   Once an antibiotic has fought the battle it was designed for it withdraws from the body.   We have a withdrawal period on every antibiotic we use to let us know when that complete withdrawal has occurred assuring the consumer that NO MEAT HAS ANTIBIOTICS IN IT!  The packing plant provides another layer of protection by taking random sample to test for drug residue.  If we test positive for drug residue we damage our trust with the packer and lose the ability to be economically viable.  

I would love to read a new headline that says “Subway reverses meat decision”.  I also know that Subway answers to investors that want to make money.   I am so grateful that our profitability decisions are handled right here on the farm and not in a board room in New York City.   We work with people like our veterinarians, nutritionists, bank officers, etc... to help make the best decisions possible for our cattle to thrive and become that power packed nutrient source for your table!