Here’s what Panera has to say for themselves. #PluckEZChicken

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July 26, 2013 by Carrie Mess

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I just got off a phone call with Michael Simon, Chief Marketing Officer for Panera Bread. I appreciate that he called me to discuss my blog post, I really do. I also appreciate that he’s a Packers fan.

Michael wanted to stress to me that their EZChicken campaign wasn’t meant to offend farmers in any way. He went on to say that they really value the farmers and ranchers in our country. And I stressed that I am supportive of all production practices and I am very much not against them choosing to use chicken that was raised without antibiotics. The problem is the ad campaign that uses fear to sell sandwiches.

Michael believes very much that Panera’s chicken is better. What I got from our conversation is that while he personally doesn’t understand all of the facts behind animal ag production, he has seen lots of information that supports Panera’s viewpoint. I’m sure he has, just like the rest of us. The information out there about our food can be overwhelming and difficult to weed out truth from hype. He also repeated several times that the road was hard because as he put it “our chicken is more expensive”.

Here’s the thing, several years ago many of the major chicken produces came together and pledged to not use non-therapeutic or prophylactic antibiotics. While Panera has built an offensive marketing campaign touting their chicken as something special, many other restaurants have been using the same chicken, with lower prices and no fanfare.

A quick list of chain restaurants that haven’t offended farmers and ranchers, although they also use poultry that hasn’t been given antibiotics…

Subway, Wendy’s, TGIFridays, Noodles & Company, Atlanta Bread Company, Einstein Bros Bagels and even McDonald’s and Culver’s, who have both recently featured ad campaigns that support farmers.

Props to those companies for not using a label to scare people into buying their food.

Michael has said that Panera is going to take down all the images and references to EZChicken. When I asked about the rest of the campaign, like the pill barn image that implies that antibiotics are in our food, Michael told me that in his opinion the fact is correct but he will take a look at the wording.

Love all the folks raising their voices on facebook and twitter! You're all rockstars!

Love all the folks raising their voices on facebook and twitter! You’re all rockstars!

 

I asked about the video (not linking to it because I’m not going to help it get more views) that says “Lots of places serve chicken with antibiotics and we could take that easy road and do things the way others do, but we’re always trying to make food that’s more delicious… and while there were a lot of reasons  behind our decision we think antibiotic free chicken simply tastes better, more tender, more like…well, real chicken.” His response was, he felt it was true. I don’t know the last time I walked into a restaurant and had a chicken sandwich with a sprinkle of penicillin on top, like the video says. And if antibiotic free chicken tastes better or more like real chicken, I’ll be sure to order myself some chicken tenders at Culver’s or any of the other thousands of places I can order chicken raised the same way. This isn’t a case of semantics or a poor choice of words in my opinion, this is deliberately using fear to sell sandwiches. That’s not OK.

I asked about a public apology to farmers, I was told that they would post something on facebook that “clarified their viewpoint”.

Here’s where I am at with all of this. I think that Panera realized that they have a lot of ticked off people on their hands. In fact I was told by Michael that our response to this ad was the loudest response they have ever had. Good job folks! The problem is that even after my conversation with Michael the company doesn’t seem to understand that the problem isn’t them using chicken raised without the use of antibiotics, the problem is using a marketing campaign that uses fear to sell sandwiches. Taking down a few images that infer that farmers are lazy, doesn’t fix that. A company that uses fear in their marketing is a company that doesn’t want my business… I don’t care how expensive their chicken is.

Just like it says in the image at the top of this post, actions speak louder than words. When I said it was time to #PluckEZChicken I didn’t just mean to ax the bird. I want to see this kind of fear driven marketing stopped dead, starting with Panera.

Join me in telling Panera Bread Company that this is not ok. Tweet and Facebook with the hashtag #PluckEZChicken, tell Panera what you think.

 

 

 

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152 thoughts on “Here’s what Panera has to say for themselves. #PluckEZChicken

  1. Love this post, Carrie. As an advertising person, it saddens me to see blatant lack of integrity in marketing. This situation is a perfect example of why advertising folks get such a bad rep.

    I’m game for #PluckEZChicken — farmers and ranchers have a heck of a lot more integrity and transparency than Panera’s marketing department does.

  2. Marie Mahaney says:

    I would have loved to be able to listen to this conversation. Thank you for defending our way of life and showing our true colors of raising livestock to the best of our ability.

  3. Coral says:

    Thanks for your efforts in tackling the Panera chicken issue. It’s really nice to see so much emotion coming from our side of the story. As an animal scientist I have come to realize that what the majority of people connect with is not the hard science but the emotion. Farmers love their animals and way of life but the public doesn’t always see it. You are setting a great example for farmers and animal scientists with your blog and activism. Keep up the good work!

  4. Sara says:

    “Here’s the thing, several years ago many of the major chicken produces came together and pledged to not use non-therapeutic or prophylactic antibiotics. ”
    Can you provide sources for this info? I can’t find anything anywhere that says that.

  5. Caitlin says:

    While Panera may not see the light here, hopefully we have reached consumers who otherwise wouldn’t have known the difference.

    Is anyone aware of efforts by farmers to reach out to restaurants and proactively discuss the agriculture industry to prevent another #EZchicken debacle in the future?

    • That’s an excellent question Caitlin. Several organizations exist today, working to build trust with consumers regarding how food is grown and raised. U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA) is one of those. We are a farmer-rancher led organization, working to tell the stories of America’s farmers and ranchers. We have relationships with several restaurants in an effort to share information about modern agricultural practices, like antibiotic use on farms and ranches. We feel it’s important to share accurate information about how these tools are used. Like Carrie says in her posts – there’s a great deal of information out there. Our efforts, specifically with those in the restaurant sector, are focused on providing details on how, why and when antibiotics are used – and if animals are raised with the use of antibiotics – the meat is still a safe choice for consumers. You can learn more about USFRA on our website: http://www.fooddialogues.com; farmers and ranchers can also join the FARM team and share their stories on our site (http://www.fooddialogues.com/farmers-ranchers). Carrie was absolutely correct that several farmers and ranchers raised their voices in response to Panera’s campaign. But we still need more farmers and ranchers sharing stories and information on how they grown and raise food. We’ve also hosted several panel discussions on antibiotics and those videos are available on the site for viewing and sharing. There’s also FoodSource, which has information on antibiotic use in meat production: http://www.fooddialogues.com/foodsource/antibiotics.

    • Agvocate says:

      CommonGround is also a great resource!

      The program consists of farm women who volunteer to start conversations between women who grow food, and the women who buy it. Volunteers use their personal experience as farmers, but also science and research to answer consumer questions.

      Check out the website to find tons of facts, infographics and blogs about popular food issues like antibiotics, hormones, GMOs, etc. (http://findourcommonground.com/).

  6. Ken4Corn says:

    Panera’s campaign is bigger than this. They have a TV spot also: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPC_oK061cU

    Also, their website on antibiotics is a little questionable.
    http://www.panerabread.com/liveconsciouslyeatdeliciously/?ref=lced2013hptopnav#!articles/antibiotic_free_answers

  7. Brooke says:

    Hey lady –

    This is a great post, Carrie. I’m proud of you for taking a stand and voicing your thoughts in a well-written, educated post.

    Also – this post has been showing up on my friends’ and families’ timelines! Way to go, doll.

  8. Irish says:

    I just HAVE to comment on this with some of my favorite pieces from the story…

    “Michael wanted to stress to me that their EZChicken campaign wasn’t meant to offend farmers in any way. He went on to say that they really value the farmers and ranchers in our country”
    That’s excellent to know, sounds like he’s really sorry about what happened and is putting a lot of thought into his apology…

    “Panera’s chicken is better”
    So now farmers who don’t supply chicken to Panera, just know, all your product is substandard!

    “our chicken is more expensive”.
    Just because you pay more for something, it doesn’t mean that it’s better. It means you’re dealing with a salesperson who’s more skilled at selling than you are at buying. If I buy a chicken for $1 and sell it for $10, have I done something amazing to the chicken to make it better? Or am I just a better sales person than the person I bought the chicken from?

    “Panera has built an offensive marketing campaign touting their chicken as something special”
    It certainly is offensive. Offensive to farmers and offensive to the sensibilities of consumers like myself.

    “Michael has said that Panera is going to take down all the images and references to EZChicken”
    The only reason to do this is because they realize what they did was WRONG!

    “When I asked about the rest of the campaign, like the pill barn image that implies that antibiotics are in our food, Michael told me that in his opinion the fact is correct but he will take a look at the wording”
    So……. there are giant pills in barns holding the roof up? Barns contain more antibiotics than a GlaxoSmithKline production facility? Farmers overdose their chickens on antibiotics? What’s that image supposed to say? Again I quote “EZChicken campaign wasn’t meant to offend farmers in any way” yet there it is in a big giant pill barn picture! Does Panera bread live in this reality or what?

    ” there were a lot of reasons behind our decision we think antibiotic free chicken simply tastes better, more tender, more like…well, real chicken.”
    Yes although I believe the top reason is “MONEY”. Plus if Panera is saying “antibiotic free chicken tastes more like real chicken” does that mean “Antibiotic free chicken” actually isn’t real chicken? It just tastes like it? If so, I’m guessing chicken WITH antibiotics is REAL chicken. Also what happens if a chicken gets sick? Do we not give it medicine to get well? Or do places that serve “antibiotic free chicken” actually serve “sick or diseased” chickens to the public? Now I’m getting a bit worried, mainly because I’ve got chicken for lunch….Thankfully it’s not from Panera Bread!

    “a chicken sandwich with a sprinkle of penicillin on top, like the video says.”
    Tasty chicken sandwich that will help get rid of those pesky STD’s! Sounds like it would actually be a winner and do quite well in sales! What’s next for Panera bread? How much fear can they use to sell something? “Buy our chicken or the puppy suffers!!!”

    “I asked about a public apology to farmers, I was told that they would post something on facebook that “clarified their viewpoint”.”
    “I’M SORRY”. Two words, how hard was that? Instead they are saying “We’ll try to write something that doesn’t say we’re sorry, but more nicely defends our insults to farmers”. To that, I don’t just think #pluckEZchicken, I say #pluckyouPaneraBread!

    Just in case my message gets lost in double talk, half arsed backtracking and false advertising, please be aware of what I REALLY mean… ” Dear Panera Bread, I vow never to eat at your restaurant again until you stop using fear to sell your foods and stop spreading falsehoods into the minds of consumers. I will encourage my friends never to eat at your establishment and educate them on the FACTS about raising chickens, antibiotics in foods, and how to avoid cheap marketing tactics like the ones on display at Panera Bread. I’m sure you’re aware of the study that shows people who have a positive response to a product will tell 2-3 of their friends, those that have a negative response will tell 8 – 10. So the question is, how many people do you want with a negative image of Panera Bread. The ball is in your court”.

    Thank you, and #pluckEZchicken!

  9. Jasmine says:

    “I want to see this kind of fear driven marketing stopped dead”

    I call boloney on this. How many other posts have you made about fear-based marketing? None. This was never about the fear, so don’t back peddle. You were offended by an advertising campaign, that’s what happened. You were offended and you made your opinion of the campaign known. Some people agree with you. Others don’t. I find your tactics to get a response from Panera and their ad agency to be rude and a touch fear-based in itself.

    When you make another post against fear-based marketing used to sell clothing, body spray, cable tv, insurance, and political ideologies, then I will believe that you truly care about the use of fear-based marketing.

    Until then, this is about you taking offense to an ad campaign and nothing more.

    • dairycarrie says:

      You should probably spend more time looking around this blog. First of all I have called BS on marketing plans before. They all involved our food. Because I’m a farmer and that’s what’s important to me… I could give a crap less what tactics they use to sell body spray so long as it doesn’t create fear over the food we buy. My blog is food and farm focused in case you didn’t figure that out.

      • Sara says:

        I felt the same way reading your explanation of why you were unsatisfied with Mr. Simon’s response. Last post, when I said it was hard to understand exactly what everyone was pissed about, you said: “This specific post is about calling attention to the marketing campaign that Panera has picked to sell their product. The campaign seems to call farmers who use antibiotics lazy.” Pissed about being called lazy.
        Regarding the link you posted (or the closest thing I could find on that site) about chicken producers eliminating antibiotic use:
        “By 2004, Tyson’s antibiotic use had fallen 93% to 59,000 pounds” (I dunno, seems like a bunch still in use. Literally tons of antibiotic. And again, I’m not anti-antibiotic. heh. ) &’ “While Tyson’s achievement is good news, these kinds of data require independent, third-party verification,” said Margaret Mellon, J.D., Ph.D., Director of the Food and Environment Program, Union of Concerned Scientists.’ So pretty much have to take *their* word for it, too.
        I could take that and Panera’s commercials to the bank and….still not be able to afford their fancy chicken sandwich.

        Why are all the farmers so cranky? Over fast food? It’s a no brainer that fast food is garbage and about as far removed from the farm as a twinkie. Is everyone mad that McDonald’s touts their sugar filled smoothies as healthy?

  10. […] countryside. However, to date, their response has been lazy at best. Earlier this week Carrie Mess brought to our attention the Panera Bread campaign all about the EZChicken which implies that farmers raising chickens and […]

  11. Tonia McBride says:

    I actually Facebook messaged Panera when I saw this campaign to tell them they had lost my business and my company’s business. I will admit to being somewhat, shall we say, dishonest when I accused them of letting sick animals die, or at least suffer, rather than giving them antibiotics. I was being straight on honest when I said they were insulting farmers. They admitted that sick chickens are given antibiotics and then moved to the ‘conventional’ flock in their response. So, really, they don’t demand a higher standard of care (if a/b free is really higher), they just refuse to buy any unlucky chicken who happens to get sick. Maybe they should say they only serve lucky chickens!

    • Gary says:

      sounds like chicken I would prefer to eat!!

      • dairycarrie says:

        Gary, I think we all understand your point of view, you’ve made it very clear in all of your comments here. Going along and commenting on each comment here with an opposing viewpoint to yours is trolling for confrontation. I do not allow trolls on my page.

      • Gary says:

        Is that not the point of comments on a blog. Or does everyone you allow on have to agree with you. One of my kids was just diagnosed with gluten intolerance and has been sick many times. I am just now getting interested in the truth behind food labels.

        • dairycarrie says:

          I don’t expect everyone to agree with me by any means but if you sit here and post on every single comment that doesn’t agree with your stance you are trolling. That’s not OK. You seem far more interested in pushing.g what you believe to be true than anything else.

  12. Olga says:

    All I can say is thanks for taking the time and the well thought out effort to do this. I too am a livestock farmer and I thought a very informed one. I’m very aware of the abuse of antibiotics in our food but haven’t seen stats one way or the other. I’ve been seeing/hearing so much about it of late that I too would have thought it was much worse then your graphics show and as such would have just been sad that the state of things would justify a company like Panera to use such a tactic. So, I would say to you…your efforts have given me some well needed facts! As I always say, being informed is our best defense. I often think, if I can reach one person….well it’s obvious you reached more then one!

  13. I just wanted to drop by and share what I find to be an interesting parallel. Does anyone else remember the 1997 suit Pizza Hut brought to Papa John’s?

    The best synopsis I could find was on Wikipedia (Judge me. It’s okay.)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Papa_John's_Pizza

    In 1997, Pizza Hut filed suit against Papa John’s based on a series of advertisements that compared the ingredients of Papa John’s and its competitors. At trial, the court agreed with Pizza Hut’s argument that Papa John’s slogan did not constitute statements of literal fact – that “fresher ingredients” do not necessarily account for a “better” pizza; this ruling was overturned in 2000 when Papa John’s appealed the decision. Although the jury’s decision on the misleading advertising was upheld, the appeals court determined that Pizza Hut failed to prove, under the requirements of the Lanham Act, that the misleading advertising and puffery had a material effect on consumers’ purchasing decisions.

    “We conclude that (1) the slogan, standing alone, is not an objectionable statement of fact upon which the consumers would be justified in relying, and thus not actionable under section 43(a); and (2) while the slogan, when utilized in connection with some of the post-May 1997 comparative advertising–specifically, the sauce, dough and stuff campaigns–conveyed objectionable and misleading facts, Pizza Hut has failed to adduce any evidence demonstrating that the facts conveyed by the slogan were material to the purchasing decisions of the consumers to which the slogan was directed.”[9]

    Sound familiar? It just seems like more than anything, this is a lawsuit in the making. My biggest issue is that their marketing is baseless and defamatory. For no reason. You can’t just make statements or implications about competitors or other industries with no facts.

    Hopefully Panera considers the consequences of their actions not only for the sake of those who work tirelessly to provide a safe and healthy chicken to all restaurants, but also how this could potentially prove to be “misleading advertising.”

    Thans again for sharing!

  14. sarah says:

    Don’t people know there is a withdraw period before you can slaughter an animal? Sheesh.
    I like you blog, way to go.

  15. curiouseater. says:

    What about the farmers that farm chickens, and everything else, without antibiotics? Admittedly, the chicken served at Panera is also produced by farmers, right?

    • dairycarrie says:

      Of course it is and I’m not against that at all, as I said in my post. The marketing of the chicken is where I have a problem.

    • Great question. I would agree with Carrie. If the chicken was marketed as ‘raised without antibiotics’, I would have been okay with that. They’re implying that chickens given antibiotics at some point during their life are not antibiotic free when consumed. All animal products that are meant for food have to abide by FDA regulations on withdrawal periods — the amount of time which an animal cannot be (legally) consumed as food.

      • Gary says:

        What exactly doe antibiotic free mean? no residue, zip zero zilch, or just below an acceptable level. Can anyone answer that?

      • Gary says:

        You won’t answer it because you don’t like what it says

      • Krysten says:

        Gary, here’s your freaking answer!

        “Raised without Antibiotics” or “Antibiotic-Free”

        “Raised without Antibiotics” on a package of chicken indicates that the flock was raised without the use of products classified as antibiotics for animal health maintenance, disease prevention or treatment of disease. Animal health products not classified as antibiotics (such as some coccidiostats, which control protozoal parasites) may still be used. “Antibiotic free” is not allowed to be used on a label but may be found in marketing materials not regulated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. It means the same thing as “Raised without Antibiotics.” All chicken is “antibiotic-free” in the sense that no antibiotic residues are present in the meat due to the withdrawal periods and other precautions required by the government and observed by the chicken companies.
        (http://www.nationalchickencouncil.org/about-the-industry/chickopedia/#six)

        I’m not offended or upset by that answer. As you can see by the last sentence, ALL is antibiotic-free because of withdrawal periods (which you have been told several times). But there is chicken that has been raised without antibiotics (zip-zero-zilch, as you say) and it is advertised as “Raised without antibiotics”. We’re not afraid of what it says. Carrie has answered your questions several times, yet you still just peck and peck, trying to piss people off.

  16. from Turlock, CA says:

    Thank you Carrie for defending the farmers. Most farmers farm because they love farming and they do a good job. It’ s all about the presentation of the marketing and the presentation here by Panera is wrong. Perhaps they need to take a tour of a farm that really raises chickens to see how it’s done. Ignorance is what drives the fear.

  17. Chuck says:

    Much if not most marketing is fear-based. Your trying to defend indefensible farming practices by couching them in an argument about fear-based marketing is a red herring at best.

    • dairycarrie says:

      Chuck, you’re barking up the wrong tree.

      • czumbrun says:

        Woof!

        What tree is that exactly?

      • Gary says:

        I drive by large dairies and they all post no trespassing or no visitor signs on their dairies. The Tulare Farm show bans the taking of pictures on their bus farm tours. I wonder why?

        • dairycarrie says:

          Our business lives in fields and barns that are open to anyone to walk into at any time. A sign up gives us a hint of comfort that someone won’t come in the middle of the night and destroy everything. Not many businesses leave their doors open when the leave for the day…

      • Gary says:

        That doesn’t explain why they won’t allow pictures on tours when they are expecting the bus loads of visitors.

      • Sue says:

        Gary- I went on a tour of an 8,000 cow dairy just this morning! The signs at their driveway say something along the lines of “no trespassing. All visitors must make an appointment before entering”. We had an appointment. They gave us a fantastic tour of their facilities and answered all of our questions. The care they give their cows is fantastic.

        I am in farming and love to tour other businesses, within this industry or not. I would never dream of expecting any business to take the time to give me a tour without making an appointment. There are always things to learn from other people! (I had no idea how much I didn’t know about coal power plants until I toured one!)

      • Gary says:

        Sue, the Tulare Farm Show is one of the largest farm shows in the world. Visitors come from all over the world to see it and many go on these bus tours that are pre-arranged but they can’t take pictures.

  18. Rene says:

    I rather curious about where the info at the top of the page comes from. Humans and pets use 10 times more antibiotics than livestock? That’s quite different than much of what I have read from supposedly reputable sources. I’d really like to know where “the truth” fact is coming from.

    While I wholeheartedly agree that farmers are not lazy folks and maybe this marketing campaign wasn’t a great idea I think we all can agree that excessive antibiotic use is a problem and I have to say I applaud Panera for using chicken that is antibiotic free. I’ve got no problem with antibiotics being used when an animal is sick, but using massive amounts so that animals may be raised in overly crowded situations is clearly not the best route for anyone.

    • dairycarrie says:

      Rene, I don’t have the cite for that number at hand but what I can say is that while I may treat a few of my calves here and there with an antibiotic my cows have had not been treated anywhere near the amount of times that a 7 year old kid has.

      Do you have a cite for the “massive amounts” number you claim? I’m not being snarky here… I just want to point out that there’s quite a bit of discrepancy in numbers. I honestly don’t know if there is a firm answer to percentage of antibiotics used in animals vs humans. What I do know is that the largest class of antibiotic used in animals has zero use in humans and has never had a human use. That’s not a fact that you see put out there very often when you see that 80% number thrown around. Not to mention that people seem to forget that a human sized dose is a drop in the bucket when you’re treating a 1800 dairy cow for pneumonia.

      • Rene says:

        I think what you are not taking into consideration here is that there is a big difference between huge animal raising operations run by corporations, and smaller farmers such as yourself or I. And, by the way, despite the stupid advertising choices, I did not get the impression that Panera was leveling accusations of lazy at small farmers. What bothers me about this whole conversation is that there is a lot of information being thrown out that is obviously incorrect. I use antibiotics for my farm type animals as well, but it’s a tiny amount. Thing is, as little as the animals get on this farm, they still get a lot more than myself or my family, or my pets. You can’t prove “facts” going by what you do on your farm. What you and I do has very little similarity to what the big guys are doing. They may raise animals, but I would not consider them to be farmers. What they do in the case of Perdue or Tyson, in my opinion, is take advantage of the real farmers that work for them, and their doors are absolutely not open.

        Here’s a link to one article, there are many, many more. Many of them are citing 70% of antibiotic use in livestock rather than 80%, but it is still a much different number than that visual you are showing at the top of your post. I would be looking into those numbers before posting things such as that because it undermines your authenticity if you have no idea where those “facts” are coming from.
        http://www.ucsusa.org/food_and_agriculture/our-failing-food-system/industrial-agriculture/prescription-for-trouble.html
        If you look around you will find this number over and over again from many large news organizations. Just take a look yourself. It’s not like I’m just grabbing numbers out of thin air. I don’t see the number from your visual anywhere, and I’m still very curious where it comes from.

        I also don’t believe that it’s using antibiotics for sick animals that are being raised properly (the way you or I do) that anyone is bothered by, it’s the use by CAFOs to keep animals from dyeing in terrible conditions, and the prophylactic doses given for weight gain that people think need to change. (despite what the supposed vet who has been commenting on here says, this is also well documented, go ahead and do a little googling) Clearly there’s a problem with antibiotic use in this nation, and if Panera is taking a path to help reduce that use then good for them. Bad for them on their campaign, but I still don’t see that it’s calling farmers lazy.

        • dairycarrie says:

          Panera’s chicken is from Perdue. And I think you should spend some time on a large farm. I’ve been to many of them eye opening in a good way.

        • dairycarrie says:

          The “supposed” vet is very much a real vet, I know her personally. You realize that the “antibiotic” that is used for weight gain as you put it is an Ionophore. It has zero use in human medicine. It doesn’t work like another antibiotics and it in itself is not what causes an animal to gain weight? …

      • Rene says:

        I live amongst large farms, and have indeed visited, and even worked at a few. Not everything I saw opened my eyes in a good way, in fact they were opened in some bad ways as well. I’m not a huge fan of Panera, and don’t even eat there. We can debate all day, but we’re getting totally off topic as to where that number comes from that you have posted at the top of the page. Guess I’ll have to look into it myself. That visual at the top has caused me to think twice about any claims that are made on this blog. You may have visited large farms, but have you ever been to a Perdue operation? No more debating for me, I’ll be spending my time trying to research where these antibiotic use claims are coming from. Have a nice day on the farm, Carrie. I know I will.

      • Sara says:

        http://www.bioagrimix.com/haccp/html/ionophores.html
        http://medicalxpress.com/news/2013-03-sequencing-tracks-animal-to-human-transmission-bacterial.html
        http://www.soilassociation.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=2%2boyELRyepc%3d&tabid=385
        “Resistance to ionophore anticoccidials does not develop rapidly in contrast to the chemotherapeutic compounds (for example the quinolone anticoccidials). However, coccidia have developed resistance to all known coccidiostats although little is known about the mechanisms of such resistance. The incidence of resistance is greater for monensin than salinomycin. Cross-resistance between coccidiostats is controversial and the evidence is conflicting, however it is generally accepted that cross-resistance is a problem and that in general coccidial drug resistance is in all probability an emerging problem.”
        “Ionophores should not be used in birds laying eggs for human consumption due to the potential for residues to enter the food chain and the possibility of human toxicity.
        Poultry litter from flocks fed ionophores should not be used as a nitrogen source in feeds.
        Use in Human Medicine
        Ionophores are not used in human medicine due to their potent cardiovascular effects.”

        Just sayin.

    • The infographic is from a PR website called findourcommonground.com run by a group of women from the soybean/corn farming industry. The small print reads “Estimates from AHI.” AHI is a trade organization for the antibiotic companies as stated on their ‘about us’ pages. I was unable to find any data or the original “estimates.”

      • dairycarrie says:

        Well they would probably be the group with that kind of research…

      • If we’re being intellectually honest, such a vague claim to begin with (“estimates”) provided by an org who has a huge interest in maintaining sales probably isn’t the most reliable source. I am, however, interested in finding some actual data that back up the graphic as much as I’d be interested in seeing the data that support the ’70-80% used by farms’ claim. Any ideas?

    • Ginny says:

      The way I understood this information is that if you compare the amount of antibiotics given to one animal to the amount given to one human or pet, the human tends to receive 10 times more overall. However, you have to take into account that there are many more animals than people, so while per animal the number is much less, when the amounts given to all animals are added it is a larger amount.
      I’m also curious about where you got your information about “massive amounts” of antibiotics being used so that animals can be “raised in overly crowded situations”. There are regulations in place to ensure that animals are housed humanely and not overly crowded. Farmers are motivated to treat their animals well because they care about their welfare, and also by economics. It is not economical to give huge amounts of antibiotics to animals when it is not necessary and when they are not sick. As a farmer, I know this from experience.

      • Laura Tilly says:

        My uncle-in law is a vet for one of the large poultry producers – I *think* it’s Tyson. This whole conversation has made me rather curious about what is allowed and not allowed and how they handle discrepancies. I’ll try and post his response if I can get a hold of him – and if I remember. Three small kiddos keep my brain pretty occupied. ;)

  19. Hmmm, perhaps we should ask Panera if that expensive chicken they sell is also chemical free?? http://www.anh-usa.org/usda-wants-fewer-poultry-inspectors-more-chemicals/

  20. Reblogged this on Eye of the White Face and commented:
    The amount of Mis-Information out there is mind blowing. These thoughts come from a leader in a fortune 500 company!!

  21. […] While waiting the 20 minutes for the casserole to bake, I began to think about the past several weeks… I have been to Washington D.C. to meet with reporters and writers about the use of antibiotics in livestock, discussed organic and conventional production and grassfed vs grainfed beef…PEW held a discussion in Chicago on antibiotic use and superbugs…and Panera launched a campaign insinuating that farmers who use antibiotics are lazy. I recommend you take a look at a well written post by my friend Carrie Mess “Dear Panera Bread Company” and “Here’s What Panera had to say…” […]

  22. Robert R says:

    As the article states this comes from Panera marketing they know the John Q public sees “antibiotic free chicken” and think that Panera is the best because of the chicken they sell. I would like to know who their supplier is and what the definition antibiotic free is. There is usually a set number of days after animals are administered antibiotics before they can go to slaughter anyway. Why would the consumer be worried about eatong chicken with antibiotics anway because they left their house that they cleaned with lysol and bleach and they them selves are on antibiotics for flu like symptoms. I would like to see a true “antibiotic” free farm where they raise a couple hundred thousand birds and see how it turns out.

    • You’re right, a farm raising a couple hundred thousand birds needs preventative antibiotic use. But, I think there is a concern that we probably should be taking a good, hard look at our farming practices. Raising so many animals in such close proximity on industrial scales necessitates the need for antibiotics by creating a problem associated with unsanitary, and often inhumane conditions. Such rampant antibiotic use is termed “judicious”, but it’s not as necessary if we don’t choose to grow our animals in such small spaces. And this antibiotic use does lead to resistant bacteria, which are capable of horizontal gene transfer to other species that might effect human health. It becomes more probable the more you place a selective pressure on those bacteria.

      Additionally, you’re second point is correct. We should not be using as many cleaning products as we do, especially antibiotics in soap products. However, the people who oppose overuse of antibiotics have a high probability of also avoiding those types of products and rely on things like Simple Green or good old anti-biotic free soap. But the existence of overuse by consumers does not make the overuse of farmers (perhaps just a perception problem to be sure) any less of a concern. The two are similar problems, but it’s not a zero sum game.

  23. Sara says:

    Thank you for taking this enormous task under your belt. To educate the public, including those who serve our food, on where their food comes from often seems an insurmountable task. I wish people could filter through the scare monger tactics and media reports that say their food is killing them and get to know where their food comes from. As a consumer of anything that is each and every persons responsibility. But I know that’s a pipe dream. I listened to a presentation recently by a human MD who broke down bit by bit this study where the 80% antibiotic statistic came from. Very fascinating how skewed the stats in this study have become. Also very interesting how even the government agency who wrote this report has skewed perception in the title of the report. Check it out. Bottom line is this 80% number is ludicrous when you look at the actual report. Humans and animals use different antibiotics the majority of the time. Let’s not use scare tactics when it comes to something so serious. Let’s work together to try and understand an extremely complex situation that I doubt can be blamed on any one practice.

    • Christine says:

      Wow, I just can’t believe so many of you have have taken Carrie’s comments with intergrety. You seem to be an irresesponible blogger who chooses to take offense at sometime you cant or wont participant it. Why on earth would anyone take offense at a community partner such as Panera? Did you really research the company, or simply jump into allowing your insecurities take over in this situation. First of all Panera has made a decision to serve this type of product, from many local farmers both poultry, fruits and veggies. Why did you work so hard to get upset at an alternet farming model. You decide what to get offended at in situation such as these.
      Again if you were a responsible blogger you would also that no other company has given back more to the communities they do business in. In fact they even built (from profits made off these ABF local farmers)a new cafe to give away free food to the needy. Carrie how much of your hard earned money or food do you give away??? For those who want educate yourself look up PaneraCares.

      Carrie the real fact is that farming is not easy or inexpensive to operate, and I’m sure many would love to change from a slower more costly farming turn around model, yet simply can’t afford it.
      Come on people stop reading every thing you read or hear and look into things for yourself. I appreciate, respect and love all Americas farmers, regardless of their business model.

      Carrie, why can’t you accept an alternative model without getting all offended. Seems to me you are the one offending and insulting farmers.

      For anyone who has gotten to this point, thank you and just think about it.

      • dairycarrie says:

        Christine,
        First of all thank you for taking the time ro visit my site. I would encourage you to read more of my posts. It should become clear to you that not only am I in fact a dairy farmer myself, I am extremely supportive of all types of farming and agriculture. I have zero problem with Panera serving ABF chicken and that’s not what this post, or the post before this which is where the story starts is about. I take issue with the marketing they have used to promote their product.
        I appreciate that Panera bread supports their community. To answer your question about how much I donate, this year we grew an acre of sweet corn on our farm and donated over a ton of sweet corn to Second Harvest Food Bank. I also donate several gallons of milk each month to our local community super. I also donated 25lbs of cheese to our local food pantry and I will continue to give my time and my resources to these causes. You really don’t know anything about me and it’s very presumptuous of you to insinuate that I’m not a giving person.

        You’re right that farming isn’t easy or inexpensive. I know this first hand.

        So, here’s the deal. I did my research on this issue. Don’t come here judging me without taking the time to see who I am and where I stand.

      • chattabox says:

        Christine,

        Kudos and I agree! In regards to the company of Panera, I’d also like to note that the CEO is so concerned about food and people that he recently undertook the initiative to find out how much food stamps he would get as a minimum wage worker in his area and chose to spend a month spending only that amount on food. He’s talked about what it’s been like, how it feels, how eye-opening it is. CEO’s like him and John Mackie of Whole Foods (who refuses to take in salary more than 10xs his lowest paid employee) restore my faith in corporate America!

        Anyway my point, in agreement with Christine, is why try to tear down such a great company because they did one thing you disagree with, amidst so much good?

        I still stand by my original reply, which is that there’s much truth to their campaign and I, for one, am happy they are making that more public!

      • Christine says:

        Carrie, I spent the last week reading your blog and Facebook page and do feel I know you based on your postings. In any event the company has changed the “offensive” wording of the commercial, I hope it lives up to your standards since I’m sure it was done especially for you.

        Here’s the thing and I really don’t want to critize you and im sure you are a good person, farmer, philanthropist, etc. But again I believe you made a contentious choose to twist the words of the commercial to fit your insecurities, additionally I believe your reply to me proved that to me. You put yourself out there for the world to see on your sites and I’m sure myself and others could easily find one or more comments to take offense at if one wanted to.

        As I get ready to hit the enter button, I realize that I may not get thru to you at this, you may need more time to reflect on my words after you stop being offended at them of course.
        My hope is that others will read this and do their own research rather than simply following the words of a blogger that point opinions rather than facts.

        Carrie keep up your good charitable work and take some time to consider my words.

        • dairycarrie says:

          Christine,
          I understand that you don’t see what I see but many people saw exactly what I saw. This is why my post was shared, this is why my post caused change. If I was the only person who saw this campaign like this my post would have never spread like it did. I think it’s great that Panera has taken down a few of the offensive elements of this campaign. However the majority of the elements of to this campaign are still up. I have farmers of all production backgrounds that have supported my post, including organic and ABF chicken farmers. They are supportive of this because it’s not about the production practices on the farms that the chickens come from, it’s about misleading and offensive marketing.
          Panera’s good works don’t give them a free pass to say or do whatever they want. They should still be held accountable for what they choose to put out in the world as their message about our food. Your previous post that stated that I don’t give of myself was offensive because I give so much of my time, resources and means and yet you feel that because I have a different viewpoint than yours I must be selfish. Otherwise your words are far from offensive to me, rather they just show someone who is completely disconnected with the passion and integrity it takes to be a farmer. I saw marketing that I found to be wrong and I stood up for my industry, that’s far from insecure. What facts do you feel I have ignored? How about you take some time to consider my words. Take a look at what I said again. View it from the shoes of someone who actually farms and then get back to me about how Panera should get a pass because they donate food while they insult the people who produce it.

  24. Great post Carrie! I have had many lunches at Panera and was disappointed to see they jumped on the “antibiotic-free” bandwagon to market their overpriced food. I suppose that is how they justify charging what they do. It’s unfortunate that some restaurants and food companies are quick to throw farmers under the bus at the drop of a hat. They should stand with farmers who work hard to produce quality products. The quality and safety of food today has improved so much over the years. Yet their is more fear about food today than ever before. The marketing campaign Panera created is one of the reasons for such fear. Thank you for calling them out!

    • Gary says:

      They are standing with farmers who work hard to supply quality products. Who do you think supplies their quality chicken??? I am pretty sure the farmers who supply their chicken enjoy the higher prices they receive for what they produce!

  25. Pat says:

    I have wanted to try Panera as many friends have raved about their food. Now I am glad that my patronage has not yet happened (nearest one about 90 minutes away). The farm community has a tough job to stay on top of educating the public. Thanks Carrie for going to battle for yours and many others way of life. Dairying was my families livelihood when growing up. And the farm never leaves the girl, either!

  26. carolyncares says:

    Thanks, Carrie, for the update.

    To answer the question about opening the doors in a confinement barn, you would need to get clearance from the farmer, take a full shower before putting on barn supplied clothing, and leaving all electronics on the “dirty” side of the shower room. This is not to protect the human, it is to protect the animal. In the upper Midwest, there is a rapidly spreading disease that is devastating to pigs. It is being spread on shoes, clothing, and equipment that has been near an infected barn or animal (think county/state fair). Many farmers are putting tight restrictions on their barn visitors to ensure the health of their animals. When the animals are healthy, no antibiotics are needed.

    Carrie is correct, that if someone shows up on a farm and demands a tour, the likelihood of being granted a tour is slim. It is simply a respect issue. We are busy, and can’t always drop what we are doing to accommodate requests like that. The respectful thing to do is call ahead to schedule a visit, and be prepared to follow all the requirements of the visit (showering in and out, leaving electronics behind, etc).

  27. S. Harnas says:

    Antibiotics in our food supply should scare people. Factory farm use of low dose antibiotics is contributing to the MDRO (multiple drug resistant organism) problem – methicillin resistant Staph aureus a prime example. The ad is silly, in that it speaks to people’s main concern – the taste of the chicken, rather than the more important issues surrounding unethical practices.

    • DrMatt says:

      Your comment regarding MDROs is, in my opinion, quite misleading. First and foremost, the MDRO problem that we (humans) have currently (MRSA, VRE, Klebsiella, etc) is not related to farm use of antibiotics. We ourselves are purely to blame, with inappropriate and ill-advised antibiotic use, at the head of the pack in terms of responsibility. You cannot take all MDRO and lump them together to stir the fear-pot of society. Are there MDRO of veterinary importance? Absolutely. Are there more MDRO of human importance? You betcha. Does that mean that food producers need to be more judicious in their use of antibiotics? Who doesn’t? Trying to drum up fear does little to produce evidentiary based recommendations.

      If you want to see what the FDA is doing to curb the use of antibiotics in the farm industry, you should take a peek at Guidance #209, The Judicious Use of Medically Important Antimicrobial Drugs in Food-Producing Animals, Google it, I’m sure you’re an “expert” at that like every other participant in the comments section. Now, after you’ve done a thorough study of the subject, tell me this – 1) if we decrease the use of antibiotics for “control” of disease, will we eventually use higher doses of antibiotics in the “treatment” phase of disease, thus leading to higher total antibiotic use? 2) if the supply of animal based protein sources diminishes due to decreased gain and increased disease, is the American populace willing to pay higher prices? 3) If antibiotic stewardship is not practiced by all parties involved, what’s the point at all?

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for antibiotic stewardship on every side: human, animal, environmental, etc. However, I do have an issue with the undo blame that is being placed on the animal industry when there is little evidence to show any contribution of any animal antibiotic to the every expanding party of MDRO of human importance.

  28. Ron Curran says:

    I’m not an expert on raising chickens but do know a bit about dairy and there are some parallels. Using antibiotics as a routine matter or as a preventative is a band aid for bad management. I don’t have the time to make excuses for those who do this. So, kudos for the group of chicken raisers that pledged to use good management to replace routine antibiotic use. For the others, get your nutrition right, get your ventilation right, avoid overcrowding and overexposure to bacteria and you’ll make way more money than when you relied on antibiotics. Save antibiotics for sick animals that need them and don’t waste your time defending those who use them otherwise.

  29. […] 6. http://dairycarrie.com/2013/07/26/heres-what-panera-has-to-say-for-themselves-pluckezchicken/ - Carrie Mess has a very successful blog to discuss what is going around her farm and in agriculture. This post specifically concerns poor marketing by Panera against farmers and how Carrie was able to have a conversation with a representative of Panera. […]

  30. bbbb says:

    I hate that place

  31. Alli Kelley says:

    Thank you so much for this blog. You are an awesome advocate for farmers across america! It is so hard to get the truth to the public, I try my best to do it every opportunity I get. The more of us there are, the better. I am a dairy nutrition masters student at an ag school out west and I am shocked daily at what people even at our university just don’t know! Thanks again, I’m a new fan.

  32. Ben says:

    I’m a vet student. Here are some FACTS about antibiotic resistance. Antibiotic resistance is real and present in both human and animal medicine. In fact, I helped with a study last year where we recruited swine veterinarians to send in nasal swabs (from their own noses) and check them for MRSA and sure enough, swine veterinarians tend to be more likely to have MRSA as part of their normal nasal flora. The interesting part is that we don’t see an increased infection rate among veterinarians, or people who work with livestock. Also, the MRSA (methicillin resistant) and MSSA (methicillin susceptible) strains that are seen in livestock, is a different strain (ST398) than is seen in human hospitals. It is actually far less virulent and dangerous. In fact, there has only been 5 reported human fatalities where the ST398 MRSA or MSSA was observed, and only one of the persons had contact with livestock (and this compared with the 18,000 deaths due to the MRSA strain seen in human hospitals associated with human antibiotic usage). This doesn’t mean that antibiotic usage shouldn’t be evaluated closely in animals- it should! Antibiotic resistance is a real issue and is not going to go away. Unfortunately though, there is a lot of fear-mongering and demonizing of the production animal industry and the methods that are used to keep the animals safe, and continue supplying the safest food available in the world.
    http://www.slideshare.net/trufflemedia/dr-peter-davies-livestock-associated-mrsa-what-are-the-risks-to-human-health

    • Don’t forget the possibility of strain to strain horizontal gene transfer, though.

      • Ben says:

        There is certainly evidence of HGT events occurring. This is a possibility/likelihood that certainly should be of concern (but perhaps more out of concern for animal and livestock producer health!). The strains killing people are clearly linked to nosocomial infections, not people infected by being in contact with livestock. The purpose of my earlier comment is to point out that people use the example of deadly MRSA infections and give the impression or directly say that antibiotic usage in animals is to blame- which is not true. I am not saying that we should not be concerned about antibiotic resistance. We should. We should also be concerned about providing the best possible health experience for our animals as well.

    • DrMatt says:

      I couldn’t agree more. I heard Dr. Davies speak at a conference in NC in December and he shared this data. If anyone wants to review any of the presentations (in slide show format, so you will have to do a lot of interpretation on your own) visit http://www.ncagr.gov/oep/oneMedicine/OneMedicineSymposium2012.htm

  33. Jen says:

    There is a withdrawal period prior to chickens going to processing. Chickens are fed feed without antibiotics during this period.

  34. Gary says:

    Any time you confine a lot of animals in a small space you are going to have more health problems and end up using more antibiotics. The best way of producing meat or milk would be putting the cows and the chickens back out in the pastures where they can graze (yes, chickens graze grass) on non GMO forages. The milk and meat would be far more nutritious and the cows and birds would be far more healthy.I don”t think that anyone on this blog can truthfully say that condensed confinement of animals is a better system than free ranging, grazing animals.

    • dairycarrie says:

      Panera isn’t claiming that their birds are pasture raised.

      • Gary says:

        I know that, but they would be better if they were. My point is that the way we produce food is not the best and we would all be better off raising our food animals the way they were intended to be and therefore our food would be more nutritious and we would use far less antibiotics on our animals and on ourselves and we wouldn’t even have this conversation. And as an aside, it would be a far more picturesque scene of our country side than confinement operations are!

        • dairycarrie says:

          Gary, how much will folks care how picturesque the countryside is if they don’t have enough food? It’s a nice thought to have pastures of pigs and cows and chickens but there isn’t enough land available in temperate areas to pasture them year round.

      • Gary says:

        As long as farmers can make a profit there will be enough food. The problem is they can’t and you will go broke trying to feed the world while losing money, For dairying to continue to go down the path they are on is insanity. They are going out of business everywhere, Go back to some of the old ways and soon you will find that there is plenty of land. And one other thing, the more you learn how to restore pastureland and trees and other types of permanent types of vegetation the more you will restore organic matter and have better carbon retention and the next thing you know your soil will retain water better and pretty soon even weather patterns can change. I know this seems simplistic but if you research it you will find that it is possible.

      • Rene says:

        You seem awfully willing to simply write off the grass fed way of doing business. You suggested that I visit some big farms (which I have) now it’s my turn to suggest you take the time to visit a few grass-fed operations and educate yourself about them, before you simply write them off. Grass fed cattle is indeed doable in temperate climates, and not only does it produce food, and quite a bit, it’s actually beneficial to the environment. I suggest you invest in a few copies of The Stockman Grassfarmer and read up a bit.

    • Gary says:

      savoryinstitute.com , managingwholes.com, soilcarboncoalition.org, polyfacefarms.com, holisticmanagement.org, and a book by Judith Schwartz – cows save the planet. Just a few places to read and discover some of the ways of old should be looked at again. T.S. Eliot……we shall not cease from exploration, and the end of all our exploring will be to arrive where we started and know the place for the first time. When we put our cattle back on the grass and learn how to restore the soil, we will see the amazing system that God has put in place to restore the earth and all our ecosystems.

  35. Fred says:

    Enjoyed reading this while eating some Chick-fil-A. I use to stop at Panera once a week but no more…even if they change there ad campaign.

  36. I just wanted to tell you great work on all of this Carrie! It is amazing how much this has grown over the last several days!

  37. Irish says:

    What I want to know is this…….. I take 100mg of Doxycycline daily to combat an eye condition. Does this mean the following:

    1: If I came across a tribe of cannibals, they wouldn’t eat me as I am not “natural” or not as tasty as a “real human”
    2: In comparison, taking into account mass and dosage, are cows still on more antibiotics than I am? in which case, do cows have good eyesight?
    3: Because I take Doxycycline daily, does this mean that Panera bread thinks my parents are lazy?
    4: How come Panera breads can tout that their “All Natural Chicken” is awesome and brilliant, yet when I go “All natural” I tend to end up in handcuffs?

    I demand answers! Well……… when I say demand, I mean “ask politely for input…….”

  38. Laura Cardenas says:

    I guess it takes being involved in the ag industry to know the real facts. I for one would rather use antibiotics and ensure my food is safe than risk feeding my kids some unseen pathogen. I will NEVER, ever set foot in Panera or Whole Foods. Overhyped & overpriced!

  39. Lynn says:

    Dear Carrie… Your intentions are good, but your writing is in need of serious attention. If you simply wish to focus your efforts on a blog, continue in your current mode. If you wish to expand beyond the current subject matter, or write professionally someday, you would be well advised to garner the assistance of a professional (professor, editor, etc.).

    • dairycarrie says:

      Gee Lynn, thanks so much for your insight. Sorry that my post didn’t meet your high expectations. By the way I get a paycheck each month from my column so I guess I must have screwed up and did that without your input.

      • Irish says:

        How to know if your blog is working.

        1: People will try to attack you personally because they don’t have the intelligence to provide a counter to the point your blog is making.

  40. Alloqusha says:

    Well, you are welcome to try free range, happy chicken any time. It is wonderful. And yes, using hormones to make animals bigger faster then nature originally intended isn’t healthy, it’s simply a way to get money faster.

    • dairycarrie says:

      You do know that it’s been illegal to use hormones in chickens for years…

      • Gary says:

        Maybe in chickens but not in cows.Sex hormones for synchronized ovulation breeding and growth hormones (rBST ) are used quite heavily.Of course they are just “tools” but they are absolutely not necessary for the health of the cows!!!

        • dairycarrie says:

          Most milk companies no longer allow rBST milk so most farms don’t use it any more. As far as OvSynch cows go, breeding from a natural heat gives the best conception rate so that’s preferred. Many farms are installing heat detection moniters that are basically souped up pedometers that tell a computer when a cow is in heat and cuts down the use of OvSynch protocols. We had herd health today and checked 25 cows and heifers out of those cows 1 got a shot of hormones because she was cystic.

      • Gary says:

        I know that Panera Bread serves roast beef sandwiches, I wonder where they get their beef?

      • Gary says:

        DFA does take rBST milk and they are big as you know. Maybe where you are it is different but here in California OV Sync is used heavily and many cows receive their first breeding that way because voluntary waiting waiting periods.are 60dim and OV hormone shots are started by 70 dim. for the cows to get a first breeding. a lot of dairies are quietly using rBST again.

  41. Jessica in Texas says:

    I have to say, while I appreciate your passion and agree that their marketing campaign sends the wrong message to the GENERAL public. I’m pretty sure most Panera customers laugh and feel good about the ads because they understand how chickens are raised in the US. Coming from someone who helped raise chickens in FFA and now have free range chickens next door who feast on the bugs from our garden daily. My first reaction to this ad was GO PANERA and I laughed. Antibiotics are used to treat infections that come from poor hygiene and poor diet in both humans and animals and if the hygiene and diet is there – they aren’t necessary on a frequent basis. I think that’s what Panera is trying to get across.

    • dairycarrie says:

      I suspect that most Panera customers have no clue how their food is produced. Panera makes no claims on how their chickens are housed and their supplier is Perdue, the 3rd largest chicken company in the US. Panera’s chicken isn’t any different from any other chicken, they just made a marketing campaign that says it is.

      • Jessica in Texas says:

        Which just goes to say words from the USDA mean nothing. If anyone actually reads the definitions of what the USDA puts out about food you realize the only agriculture they are concerned with is what is going to kill you now – which really isn’t saying much. All I meant was in general was that I took the ads’ meaning in a different way. Unfortunately if I had the money I’d raise all my food myself, but that’s the trap we’re in isn’t it? And why you’d pay $20 for lunch. I love what you advocate in general btw. Our family eats meat about twice a week (and I mean servings). But we are just as guilty as the rest of Americans with eating out of season. I myself am an American Made business and I love what you do and am behind you 100%!

    • Gary says:

      My brother had a small dairy and had a lot of chickens running around completely free. They were very healthy looking and multiplied rapidly, He would catch some when there were to many and bring them to a flee market where the Asian and Hispanic people would pay him about $10 apiece. They knew what a good, healthy chicken was really worth, They probably see the chickens on the trucks going to slaughter and how sickly they look and many probably work on the chicken ranches and see the crappy conditions they are raised in, That includes the chickens sold to Panera Bread.

  42. […] went wild. It took a few days for the CMO to contact Carrie, and she wrote about the conversation here.  I started writing a response, but was a little too hot under the collar at the level of […]

  43. Irish says:

    Ahh the Panera Bread Executive Joke………..

    The Panera Bread CEO decides to have a meeting with all the farmers who want to supply them with their wares. The CEO finally says “Ok, I’ve got a nice EZ job for the laziest farmer here!’ All the farmers hands shoot up except for the chicken farmer who uses antibiotics.

    Curious, the Panera Bread CEO goes over to the chicken farmer and asks “How come you didn’t raise your hand to get the EZ job?”

    The Chicken Farmer replies “……….too much effort……………”

    Sad thing is, thanks to Panera Bread, there are probably people out there who think the above is actually a factual story.

    How about a Riddle instead?

    If I have 40 chickens, I shove 20 in one small cramped cage, at which point they peck, scratch and fight with eachother, get infections and I give them antibiotics. I shove the other 20 in another small cramped cage, at which point they peck, scratch and fight with eachother, get infections and I don’t give them antibiotics……….. which is the healthier chicken?

    Frankly I have no intention of going to Panera Bread thanks to it’s marketing campaign and lack of responsibility for it’s words (and it’s laughable half arsed apology). The chicken farmer I have respect for? The one that shows how it’s animals are raised, expresses concern for animal welfare, actually has photo’s, video and SCIENCE to back up what they say and do.

    Also any company that says “buy from us because other people’s suppliers are just lazy”… well unless they are backing that up with something substantial, then that’s just no different than some name calling playground bully, and weren’t we raised not to encourage such behavior?

    • Gary says:

      The second group would appear healthier than the first but if you compared them to a pastured flock neither group would look good.

  44. Gary says:

    I may disagree with you on my comments but I would almost bet that you are an ethical farmer and I saw your comment that you are looking into a more pasture based Farm, I hope you do and if you do I believe you will never look back.

  45. […] insulted farmers by inferring they were lazy in their EZ Chicken campaign (which has since been removed), Panera and many companies may be committing more errors than they […]

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