The Friday Five: Misguided Intentions

My Generation

Chipotle, "chemophobia," HSUS and more: how good intentions went astray this week.

Published on: March 7, 2014

If there's a theme to this week's links, it's the idea that which seems like a good idea, sometimes isn't. Or in the case of these organizations, often isn't. Like selfies for HSUS. Or Chipotle, the burrito chain that continues to make news, this time in the business press for their lack of sustainability reporting. Some young men in Kansas try to make sense of Chipotle's business model. And I continue to ponder one of the greatest questions I've heard all week: how many people will starve if Chipotle gets their way?

So with that, here are five stories that are worth your time this week. Read away. Enjoy. Ponder.

No More Formaldehyde Baby Shampoo: Subtitled, "How misplaced fear of formaldehyde remade Johnson &Johnson baby shampoo," this piece introduced me to a great new word: Chemophobia. It's defined as an irrational fear of chemicals based on ignorance of the facts. This piece is worth the read, especially for the chance to see, in print, how an Environmental Working Group scientist can be so misled…and so willing to mislead others.

I am loathe to share this photo, but its the selfie thats garnering $1.5 million of Samsungs hard-earned dollars for HSUS. The $180 million organization that gives less than 1% of its budget to actual animal shelters.
I am loathe to share this photo, but it's the selfie that's garnering $1.5 million of Samsung's hard-earned dollars for HSUS. The $180 million organization that gives less than 1% of its budget to actual animal shelters.

Famous Oscar Selfie Raises $1.5 Million for HSUS: Amanda Radke shares the back story on that famous Ellen DeGeneres Oscar selfie in her Beef Daily blog, namely that Samsung is giving $1.5 million to each of two charities of Ellen's choice. She chose St. Jude's Children's Hospital and HSUS. Really. Read on for more. (Dairy Carry had something to say about this, too, including a re-tweet-able image.)

Chipotle Asked to Produce Sustainability Report: This Bloomberg News piece takes a look at the investor-driven call for the 1,550-store burrito chain, Chipotle, to show proof and document their progress in support of the chain's claims of natural, sustainable and local food sourcing through their Food With Integrity program. To date, Chipotle is behind its peers in producing such reports, claiming "finite resources." By comparison, Chipotle reportedly spent $1.2 million to make their Hulu series, "Farmed and Dangerous." Hype, apparently, is the easy part. Proof, much trickier.

The Peterson Farm Bros' Beef with Chipotle: The Peterson Farm Bros., of the greater rural Kansas area, have been best known for their catchy videos. Fun, light-hearted, drawing attention to agriculture. Not controversial. This blog post marks a shift in their communications, taking a more serious message to the millions who have already tuned into their videos. The dialogue on their Facebook page and on Twitter has had more depth as well, including a Twitter exchange with Chipotle itself. Hats off to the Petersons for using their skills to create a platform, and their platform to share a message.

An Outsider's View on the Advantages of Small Town Sports: If you've been anywhere near social media this week, you've likely seen this post from my North Dakota friend, Katie Pinke. It's gone viral. It's the story of small town basketball, as she told it to a fellow airplane passenger. You'll laugh, you'll cry. If you haven't read it already, you should.