Inside D.C.

Big points for Dominos, no points for Obama

If it takes your last nickel, I want you to pick up the phone and order or toddle over and buy a Dominos “MeatZZa™ pizza, a pie “featuring pepperoni, ham, Italian sausage and beef, sandwiched between two layers of cheese made with 100% real mozzarella.”

Why am I hustling pizza?  Because last week, Dominos did what other, and often much bigger food companies have refused to.  The company showed strong backbone and came out publicly on the side of the farmer and rancher when it comes to “extremist” attacks on how food animals are raised and general meat consumption.

Once you’ve finished that pizza, you should then go in search of an 8-10-oz. New York strip and toss it on the grill.  I want you to do this because former President Barack Obama this week told the audience at something called “Seed & Chips Global Food Innovation Summit” in Milan, Italy, that we need to eat smaller and fewer steaks, if not for “dietary reasons,” then to save the planet from climate change.

But back to Dominos, my new favorite pizza chain…

“We will never tell a farmer how to farm. We will never tell a rancher how to raise his or her animals,” said Tim McIntyre, spokesperson for the Ann Arbor, Michigan-based food chain.  “What we believe is they’re the experts. They have the most vested interest in raising their livestock.  It’s not just a job; we recognize it’s a life and we appreciate that – and we’re not afraid to stand up and say it.”

Elsewhere on this Brownfield site there’s a report from the Animal Agriculture Alliance (AAA) Summit in Kansas City last week, and it was this report by Ken Anderson that broke the news that Dominos, which has also partnered with the dairy checkoff over time, prefers to stand with farmers rather than surrendering to activists like other food companies, companies which proudly tout their use of cage-free eggs and free range whatever, all of which are eating vegetarian diets that include various spices and herbs as healthy additives.  Of course, there are no artificial colors, flavors, etc.

Dominos’ McIntyre acknowledges his company, like most other major food companies, has been targeted by animal rights “extremists.”  He says these folks have pushed hard, but he adds Dominos “will not cave.”

Unlike most other food companies who have rushed to placate animal rights groups, Dominos decided it was going to “lean into the punch,” McIntyre said.  “Over the years, because we’ve taken the tack of what I’ll call ‘leaning into the punch,’ – and we’ve taken the punch and sometimes we punch back – we’ve been lucky enough to see that the extremists will go away when they realize we are not going to cave.”

“The best answer is to be deaf.  To not hear them to not respond, to not give them a platform,” he told the AAA audience.  “The biggest mistake we make is believing that they are reasonable people. We’ve learned they’re not.  That’s why they’re called extremists.” Amen, brother.

However, Obama, in a Q&A session at the Italian food conference with his former White House deputy chef and senior food policy advisor Sam Kass, said he’s fully aware the planet is not going to cut back on meat consumption over climate change worries.  Not renown for his familiarity with agriculture or having said much about farming and ranching during his eight years in office, Obama was generally supportive of farmers and ranchers, supported the use of biotechnology in food production, and disavowed vegetarianism – “What is true is that I am not a vegetarian.  I respect vegetarians, but I am not one of them.”

However, he went a bit off the rails, revealing with the with the following reported statement he’s a bit behind the science when asked if consumers should change eating habits to be “climate smart:”

“That doesn’t mean that we can’t teach you and me to have a smaller steak, for our own health,” he said according to reports. “It doesn’t mean we can’t make progress in educating the advanced world about the need to reduce – just for dietary reasons – the amount of meat that we consume at any given meal, particularly if it’s wasted.  What it does mean is we’re going to have to find ways to produce protein in a more efficient way.”

Score a big one for the pizza guy in Michigan; no points for the former POTUS.

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