EPISODE 13: Chicken on Drugs

In search of the truth, Special Agents William Neal and Patrick Cuccaro explore the mysterious Green world of sustainable special events and catering. What myths will they shatter? What will they uncover?


The Truth is out there…so we’re told.



In Episode 12, our special agents were on a roll. Not only did they expose the pitfalls of packaged food labels, but they also got on a bit of a health kick! This week, Patrick and William talk about other potentially hazardous practices employed by the food production industry…


PATRICK: Well, I’m happy to say, Agent N, that I have successfully embarked on a bit of a diet this New Year. Yep, healthy veggies, lots of water and plenty of lean chicken—the foundation of a nutrition plan that has helped me to shed a few pounds. And half the wine—just temporarily, mind you.


WILLIAM: Great job! I’m working on it too, Patrick. The water consumption thing is important for sure…most of us don’t really drink all the water we should.


Funny thing, but many people don’t know this about the water in Atlanta: We have one of the highest rates of kidney stones in the country, which is directly tied to the mineral content of our local water. The water I drink is tap water, but I’m careful to filter it for that very reason.


You know they say the pain from a kidney stone is only a bit less painful than childbirth. Wow! No thanks–I’d rather not find out!


PATRICK: I have a question about that William……Who are “THEY”?


WILLIAM: What do you mean?


PATRICK: Well, it seems that every time someone gives advice, offers words of wisdom, or otherwise tells you what to do, it’s always followed up with: “You know THEY say…blah, blah, blah.”


So, I want to know just exactly who this “they” person really is! Are “they” a certified expert? Are “they” someone with supreme knowledge well above us plebeians? Are “they” some kind of clairvoyant to whom we should pay attention?


WILLIAM: That is an excellent point! I have never really looked at it that way, but then again, I’m proud to say we often don’t see the world the same way! That, Agent C, is precisely what makes us a dynamic and well-balanced team!


PATRICK: Agreed.


WILLIAM: So, let’s get down to the reason we are here today. Let’s talk about my recent investigation into that chicken you’re eating so much of lately.


We know all about the hormones added to beef, in milk, etc., but for some reason chicken always seems to escape the attention paid to those who care what is fed to animals in our food chain. Chicken is a horror story, but a horror story with a happy ending where the good guys win!


PATRICK: I’ll bet you’re referring to the tons of antibiotics and vaccines pumped into the eggs even before they hatch! Can you even begin to visualize that? UGH.




WILLIAM: Yes, it all has to do with money, and lots of it. The poultry producers are incentivized to grow those birds as fast as possible to harvesting weight, and hedging their bets against costly diseases in advance is the reason for this massive inoculation.


PATRICK: Logic dictates that the problem is the same in chickens as it is with over-doing it with antibiotics in humans. The little bugs we try to keep away simply become resistant to the antibiotics and vaccines over time, which then creates “super bugs”. A real problem for people, especially kids, our elders and those with compromised immune systems.


WILLIAM: True! The massive coops used to house thousands of birds being grown for our tables are ripe for disease due to the filthy conditions. But here’s the good news or the “knight in shining armor”, when it comes to chicken. Sales of antibiotic-free chicken have soared over the last few years. Growers, like Purdue Farms, and grocers are learning through the power of the purse what consumers want, and we want chickens free of these additives.


Even the fast food industry has paid attention. National chains such as Chipotle have built an entire brand around marketing the fact that they use hormone- and  antibiotic-free chicken in their kitchens.


PATRICK: Supply and demand, Agent N, supply and demand! Our commerce system is governed by this simple principal, so it IS a happier ending when people use their purchasing power for change.


WILLIAM: Our use of healthfully-raised chicken in the catering world, the authenticity of which is monitored by our chefs, has accelerated in the past few years, and I see a day coming very soon when every bird we prep will have a traceable and healthy pedigree.


PATRICK: Yes, Affairs to Remember is certainly leading the way in several areas of Green catering for Green events, but weaving as many natural ingredients into our recipes has always been a focus for the company.


WILLIAM: Every time I collaborate with our culinary team on designing the right menu for my clients, I’m struck by not only their enthusiasm for Greening our product, but also by their extraordinary knowledge of local resources. Case in point and in relation to this discussion, we’ve found Ashley Farms to be a reliable go-to supplier for hormone- and antibiotic-free chicken.


PATRICK: Switching gears here for just a sec…All of this investigating we have been doing on the food chain and the misleading practices of the food industry makes me wonder how many other sustainable practices are subject to the same shell game?


WILLIAM: Funny you mention that. Remind me in our next episode to tell you about the garbage and recycling practices of the county where I live. Over the holidays one of my kids asked me about exactly WHERE all the recycling items were going to end up after they were picked up. He asked me, “In the garbage?” It really got me thinking…Do I really know where all those plastic bottles, cans and cardboard go after they leave our carefully separated bins? Are recyclables actually being recycled?


PATRICK: Lemme guess. You followed the recycling truck again, didn’t you?


WILLIAM: You bet! You can be sure I’ll do anything to give my kids the important info they need, and we owe it to our readers!


PATRICK: I’m excited to hear the rest of this story.


To be continued…



Do you know how your protein is raised? What research resources do you use to confirm your protein’s “healthy” authenticity? Please, share with us in the comments section below.


Join us next week when Special Agents Patrick Cuccaro and William Neal explore what happens to recyclables after they leave the curb.



This week’s 3Rs…


What is Revealed?


REVEALED: Urban Coop Tour





What is Revered?


REVERED: How do we get to Green?





What is Reviled?


REVILED: Why haven’t we caught on? It’s worked before!






Special Agent
Patrick Cuccaro
UNIT: Legacy Green
Affairs to Remember Caterers
Special Agent Patrick Cuccaro possesses an analytical mind and keen intellect. As Past Chair of the Georgia Restaurant Association (2012)—representing more than 4,000 restaurants and 100,000 employees—he casts a studied eye towards one of the country’s largest creators of waste—the food industry. Armed with a vision for…[more]

Special Agent
William Neal
UNIT: Legacy Green
Affairs to Remember Caterers
Agent William Neal is a hardened professional in the culinary industry. Well…maybe not hardened, since his favorite quip is “Never trust a skinny chef!” Agent Neal has held some interesting posts throughout his career. Starting as a chef, he became a…[more]

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