A Fresh Celebration

How do you get a major chain like Subway to celebrate public health? You keep the issue fresh in their minds.

Anya Vanecek

As I was taking the 4:30 AM bus to the Denver airport last Tuesday, I got to talking to the person next to me. The woman had been stranded in Denver for the night by a cancelled flight. After commiserating on how often air travelers face that problem, she told me that she was trying to get back to a wedding in South Dakota, where her family raises beef cattle.

I got excited, and started telling her about U.S. PIRG’s antibiotics campaign and our current efforts to get Subway to stop buying from beef, poultry, and pork from producers who use antibiotics for anything other than treating disease. Halfway through my explanation — that antibiotics overuse is a major public health threat — she finished the spiel: now, antibiotics are losing effectiveness and a lot of the blame is on factory farms.

Conversations like this are testaments to the power of people coming together to change the market — farmers, organizers, and consumers — and the reason the Subway campaign continues to generate lots of interest. To date, we have engaged in more than 60,000 conversations with citizens nationwide and countless online. As a result, we’ve gathered more than 44,000 petitions telling Subway to sell meat raised without routine antibiotics, and hundreds of photo petitions – so many that we’ve yet to find the time to post them all [link to Facebook album]!

This is just the tip of the iceberg, and Subway has noticed. A recent Bloomberg Businessweek article hit on the antibiotics issue, indicating that Subway was now engaged in discussions “with suppliers to provide antibiotic-free meat only after criticism from consumer and health advocates” urged them to do so. And reports from a recent Subway convention indicate that the company is engaged in discussions with suppliers, but is keeping quiet on the details.

But now is the time. Subway is celebrating its 50th anniversary this month, and to celebrate we’ve planned a Twitter party – and you’re cordially invited.

Twitter is a critical arena for brands like Subway, so we’re meeting them there first. We need you and people around the country to help us send hundreds of tweets. That will show them that meat raised without antibiotics is not just critical for public health, it’s also a smart business move.

Click here to send a Tweet to Subway. We’ve written it for you, so it only takes a click!

How do you get a major chain like Subway to celebrate public health? You keep the issue fresh in their minds. That’s exactly what we’ll do until the “eat fresh” champion becomes a champion for public health.


Anya Vanecek

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