By Amanda Hill
I read last week that Chipotle is considering changing its stance on serving beef treated with antibiotics in its restaurants. Part of the company’s marketing plan has been to sell “naturally raised meat” that’s been raised “the right way,” so its statement really turned some heads.
Hey, Chipotle, I think treating animals when they are sick is the right way. Ranchers give their cattle antibiotics when they are sick, just like I give my son medicine when he is sick. I’ll do anything I can to help my little boy get better, and ranchers feel the same about their animals.
Treating sick cattle is the right thing to do.
Some customers have concerns about the impact of livestock antibiotics on humans. The fact is, livestock antibiotics have been proven safe when used in animals that enter the food supply.
When cattle are given antibiotics, they are removed from the herd and allowed time to get better. Like humans, the medicine does its job and eventually leaves the animal’s body. After a mandatory withdrawal period, the animal is allowed back with the herd—restored to health. (Here’s a great site with lots of information about the use of antibiotics in livestock.)
Giving sick cattle antibiotics is the humane thing to do.
The reality is, Chipotle has made a conscious business decision to serve organic meat. That’s fine—the beauty of free market capitalism is we can sell whatever customers are willing to buy. The company’s “change in standards” would be a change of attitude, not a downgrade in quality.
As beef supply shrinks and prices increase, it’s okay to look for alternative options—including conventional beef. It’s 100 percent safe. And it’s really tasty, too.
Chipotle, for the record, I wouldn’t mind one of your burrito bowls with a heap of conventionally-raised steak. I like my beef raised “the right way.”