Chipotle closed 43 restaurants in the Pacific Northwest for E. coli tied to food served by the chain resulting in nearly three dozen illnesses, almost all of whom had eaten at one of its sites.
This sort of thing isn’t supposed to happen to foodies, yet this is Chipotle’s third E. coli outbreak this year with others in Minnesota and California.
Chipotles goes to great lengths to portray itself as above everybody else and E.coli appears to be another flaw in that elitist persona.
Chipotle thinks that it knows better than farmers and livestock producers how to do their jobs humanely raising livestock even abandoning U.S. producers for suppliers in England and Australia as U.S. producers are not good enough for them.
They have had supply disruptions of pork on their menu as they adhere to standards that I find should create alarm with animal welfare groups. Evidently one set of elitists doesn’t go after the other.
Their focus should be on food safety, which they obviously have a problem with, instead of denigrating traditional livestock production.
Instead of telling everyone else how to run their farms and ranches it appears that Chipotles should be more concerned about how it runs its own restaurants so as to not make customers deathly sick. The chain buys local from smaller farms.
While there is nothing inherently wrong with that, it does not have the same testing and safeguards for product safety that are more prevalent in larger supply chain.
The Chipotles produce system has been exposed for its flaws. The reason they closed 43 restaurants is that is the number in that region that draws from the same providers.
Much of what concerns major restaurant chains today is not food safety, but political correctness. There is nothing wrong with gestation stalls, caged chickens or use of antibiotics for livestock health except that the politically correctness police has decided to declare them unacceptable.
I have been amazed how veterinarians’ judgements is ignored by the political-correct crowd.
Therefore, we have political correctness determining farming practices, controlling the gate to the U.S. food supply chain for farmers looking to sell their products.
If you want to participate selling your pork, milk, eggs and other products you have to do it their way meeting standards they have set, typically influenced by the HSUS which the livestock industry thinks is much worse than a liberal bias.
Farms really have no input these days into production practices, only a choice as to whether or not to adhere to top down mandates.
Most food companies from Cargill to Smithfield are going along with the ruse to get along not wanting to invest the time and resources to contest the political correctness even if they don’t really buy into it.
Others such as Whole Foods and Chipotle have used political correctness to build their brands upon tying their bottom line to strict enforcement of PC tenants of food production exploiting it for profit. The latest was Subway announcing that it would no longer serve meat from livestock treated with antibiotics.
Animal rights groups are just another division of PC because if they were not, they should be blasting restaurants for banning antibiotic use in animals.
First off, they mislead. Meat served doesn’t have antibiotics in it. Animals may be treated with antibiotics, but there are strict withdrawal periods ahead of slaughter and meat is tested for compliance with withdrawal periods.
So what was Subway attempting to accomplish? There is no antibiotic residue in meat, but they don’t want to buy meat from animals treated with antibiotics? Is Subway sadistic? Why let animals die that could be made healthy with treatment?
Livestock producers who do not treat animals with antibiotics have higher death losses than those that use veterinary prescribed antibiotic treatment.
Higher death losses increase the cost of production raising costs through the food chain – besides being immoral.
Producers are often paid premiums to cover this higher cost, premiums that are lost if animals are treated with antibiotics.
The financial incentive then is to let animals suffer without treatment in hope they recover on their own.
Some are fooled into thinking antibiotic-free only means that drugs can’t be used for growth promotion.
When major restaurant chains refuse to allow any antibiotics to be used in livestock entering their food supply chain I consider that to be animal abuse.
The U.S. Ranchers and Farmers Alliance said, “It’s inhumane. Utilizing the right amount of antibiotics and at the right time is important. Hopefully we will be able to have some input up to that time (when changes are implemented).”
Subway said it’s doing this because it will make their products better.
It will have zero impact on the quality of their products. None of the meat they are serving now has antibiotics in it. Yet Subway would rather pigs be sick or die so that they can kiss the rear end of political correctness.
Foodie restaurant chains such as Panera and Chipotle have adopted antibiotic-free meat policies and Subway felt pressure from the competition.
The action was not taken out of regard for food safety or animal welfare, but another concession to political correctness.
It will have no benefit to food quality, but will raise costs and kill a few pigs.
Chipotle has work to do regarding both poor customer and animal health.
David Kruse is president of CommStock Investments Inc., author and producer of The CommStock Report.
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