Welcome to OIN

Organic Ingredients Now

Use your power as consumers to demand better from our restaurants and food supply.   You can help create more options to eat well by encouraging your favorite restaurants to serve dishes prepared with Organic and all natural ingredients.

I’m just an ordinary working stiff who buys lunch every day.  I’m not the healthiest eater in the world, I’m not a vegetarian, in fact I used to eat a lot of fast food.    The truth is, so much of what we eat is so bad, that ANY improvement is a tremendous one.  Even a burger at lunch isn’t so bad for ya if it’s from chemical-free, all natural beef.

I’ve started to frequent restaurants that use locally harvested/raised, all natural and organic ingredients.   Of course, there are many different avenues to take when it comes to eating well — and the purists can hash out the semantics and the super-healthiest way.   My agenda here is pretty simple — I’m tired of being served garbage and I don’t mind spending an extra buck or two to support restaurants that serve organic, all natural and unprocessed food.  If your issue is the price — the more consumers support restaurants that provide organic ingredients, the sooner the price will come down.

As smart consumers we have the power to change our grotesque food supply and what our restaurants are serving. But they need to hear from us.  They need to hear from us when we’re at the counter, or by talking to a server, manager or owner, or emailing their executives — just by being a day-to-day activist.  Please help us spread the word by participating in our OIN Actions.

Learn where your food comes from and what you can do to make your favorite  restaurants use Organic Ingredients Now.

Thanks for your participation and support!

Brian Sofer

Brian Sofer

Jersey Mike’s

Growing up in the northeast, I was raised on lots and lots of good deli.  Living in Westminster CO, is a little different.  It doesn’t exactly scream ‘deli country.’ There’s a Jersey Mike’s right around the corner from where I worked, and I would probably have their roast beef and swiss at least twice a week.  Highly delicious.  It’s a great sandwich, a little on the pricey side though — but compared to Subway, it’s a billion times better, quality-wise.   I recently contacted Jersey Mike’s to get some ingredient info…

Hi Jersey Mike’s!!

When I used to make believe I was working, Jersey Mike’s was one of my go-to lunch spots.  I would usually eat there twice during the work week.  Recently I’ve been made aware of some less than savory practices going on in the food industry and wanted to see where Jersey Mike’s stands.   Do you use organic or all-natural ingredients?  Is your meat antibiotic and/or hormone free? Was it raised humanely? Does Jersey Mike’s buy locally grown/farmed foods?  What are your plans for the future regarding these questions?   There’s no reason food can’t be delicious and healthy at the same time.  Please keep me posted.
thanks,
Brian Sofer

Jersey Mike’s provided a thorough and thoughtful response.

Dear Brian,

Thank you for your interest in Jersey Mike’s Subs and our ingredients.  Jersey Mike’s prides itself on providing a delicious sub sandwich made from the highest quality meats and cheeses. Below is the information you inquired about regarding our product ingredients:

•     Pork – hormones and antibiotics are not used in the raising of the animals

•     Poultry – hormones and antibiotics are not used in the raising of the birds

•     Certified Angus Beef– hormones and antibiotics are not used in the raising of the animals

•     Produce – our owner/operators have the opportunity to buy their own so it varies by location, many take advantage of local suppliers

Many of our products are covered under the “Animal Welfare Guidelines” that promote bird welfare and assure humane treatment of animals.

We plan to continue being diligent regarding the quality of our ingredients.  While we do not have any immediate plans to convert to 100% organic or all natural ingredients, your thoughts will be shared with our National Advisory Council for evaluation and consideration.

We truly appreciate your input.

Sincerely,

Melissa

Jersey Mike’s Franchise Systems

While this exchange with Jersey Mike’s was a positive one, I was curious as to some of their phrasing, so I will seek clarity in my reply.

If you’d like to feel better about scoffing down your foot long meatwiches from Jersey Mike’s, drop them a line and encourage them to serve all natural and organic ingredients.


10 Questions with Michael Pollan

Time Magazine recently posted this piece on Michael Pollan

Talk to Your Restaurant Managers and Servers

* Meets the Humane Farm Animal Care Program standards, which include nutritious diet without antibiotics, or hormones, animals raised with shelter, resting areas, sufficient space and the ability to engage in natural behaviors.

You have power as a consumer.    Start talking to the people who work at your favorite restaurants.

Ask questions:

1.  Is the meat you serve hormone and antibiotic free?  Was it raised locally and humanely?

2.  Who supplies your chicken?  Were they raised humanely, antibiotic free, and without being fed animal byproducts?

3.  Is your produce organic?

4.  What do I have to do as a customer to make this restaurant provide Organic Ingredients Now?

Operation: Anthony’s Pizza & Pasta

Easily my favorite pizza place in Colorado is Anthony’s Pizza & Pasta.  Anthony’s is a Colorado franchise that serves surprisingly authentic New York style pizza.  I’m a fan.  I probably eat there at least once a week.

So, I went to their website and fired off a quick email…

Hi – I love your pizza. As a New Yorker now living in CO, I love being able to get great NY style pizza whenever I want. We eat at Anthony’s at least once a week. My only concern, does Anthony’s use organic ingredients? If not, why not? CO is the market for it, that’s for sure. I’m not the healthiest eater in the world, but I do want to know that the food I’m eating, from anywhere, is organic, all natural, and antibiotic/hormone free. What can Anthony’s tell me about the ingredients used in their pizza? Thanks very much.

Best,

Brian Sofer

I received a prompt and pleasant response…

Brian,

Thanks for your interest in Anthony’s Pizza. We do not use organic
ingredients in our pizza. We do however use the best stuff we can for every
item we sell. Our cheese is never frozen. We make our own dough. We use
olive oil instead of veggie oil.

We are working on changing our products where we can to be organic. Not sure
when that will happen. Organic cheese is just not cost effective. It is
about twice as much as regular mozzarella.

If you have any further questions, please give me a call.

John
Anthony’s Pizza and Pasta Intl.

Please write Anthony’s Pizza & Pasta and encourage them to use Organic and All Natural ingredients.

I’ll keep you posted on any further correspondence.

Chick-fil-Nay

I preferred mine sans pickleI was right around the corner from a Chick-fil-A when I lived in Hotlanta — and quickly became addicted.  These days I no longer support any type of fast food, simply because of my many labor and safety objections in regards to how they ”conduct business.”  However, when one magically opened up directly next door to my office a few weeks back, it prompted me to shoot them a message…

Hi there – I love Chick-fil-A!  I used to eat there all the time when I lived in Atlanta.  But, I will not eat anywhere that continues to purchase their chicken from inhumane suppliers, or who use ANY type of antibiotics on their chicken. Can you assure me that Chick-fil-a meets my standards?

thanks,

Brian

I didn’t really care for this response, but Rome wasn’t built in a day…

Dear Mr. Sofer:

Thank you for taking the time to contact Chick-fil-A. You are very important to us, and we appreciate your inquiries regarding the chicken that is served in our restaurants. We hope the following information will be helpful.

Chick-fil-A is proud to have many long-standing business relationships with our chicken suppliers. At this point-in-time, we have five suppliers. Our suppliers have plants in the South, Southeast, and Southwest from which we use product. All of these suppliers have continuous USDA inspections.

Chick-fil-A works diligently to keep the quality, cleanliness, and exact specifications of our products up to the level demanded by our customers. Therefore, we are continually visiting our chicken supplier’s facilities, making sure they are reaching our high level of quality requirements.

In addition, the National Chicken Council publishes a set of guidelines for the proper and humane raising and processing of chickens. All of our suppliers abide by these guidelines and some of them were instrumental in helping to develop these standards for the whole industry.

At farm level, antibiotics are only administered to prevent and control disease. A “withdrawal” period is required from the time antibiotics are administered before the bird can be processed. This ensures that no residues are present in the bird’s system. All chickens produced for Chick-fil-A are processed under the continuous USDA inspection program. Food Safety Inspection Service (FSIS) randomly samples poultry at slaughter and tests for residues.

Again, thank you for your time and interest in Chick-fil-A.

Sincerely,

Tamara

Chick-fil-A CARES

About a day or two before their grand opening, a CFA marketing person stopped by.  She had been visiting the local businesses and handing out promotional coupons and drumming up customers.  I asked her about using antibiotic free and humanely raised chicken and told her I had emailed the site and got a lame ass response.  She told me the best thing to do was to continue to send emails because it’s more ‘voices’ — more ‘volume.’

Please, join me,  write Chick-fil-A and Tamara.  Encourage them to use antibiotic free chicken and organic ingredients.

Patronize Restaurants That Use Organic Ingredients

While it’s important to keep up the pressure on restaurants that don’t use Organic ingredients, it’s just as important to support those restaurants that do.   There are several national chains that have gone Organic and All Natural.  They need our support, and it will lead to more competitors offering the same and help drive down prices.

Here are some of the most recognizable brands that use Organic ingredients and hormone/antibiotic-free meats…

Be sure to visit the Eat Well Guide for a complete directory.