calcium disodium EDTA - does not inspire confidence.
By not disclosing what's in its food, Papa John's is revealing that it doesn't think too much of its customers. It is either asking customers for blind trust or assuming people are too stupid and complacent to ask questions. When we do ask questions, they refuse to answer. At least that was my experience, both when I approached Papa John's as a journalist and a customer. This strikes me as a foolish approach in an age when American eaters are demanding more transparency (see GMO labeling) when it comes to food, not less. For some reason, Papa John's has failed to realize that when you hoist your entire brand up on the idea of high-quality food, you'd better be able to back it up.
[Read: 10 Things the Food Industry Doesn't Want You to Know.]
While Papa John's is the most egregious example of this marketing mendacity, they're hardly alone. Olive Garden wants you to believe that eating at one of their restaurants means you're getting authentic Italian cuisine. Many of its "chefs" have been trained at the company's Culinary Institute of Tuscany, located, we are told, in a "quaint 11th century Tuscan village." But Italian cuisine is notoriously fresh, individually prepared and lacking in shortcuts. Are Olive Garden's offerings anything close to this? They, too, won't tell you. The allergen chart on the website, though, reveals that there's soy in the meat sauce and chicken parm, suggesting that Olive Garden's specialties are closer to Chef Boyardee than something Benedetta Vitali came up with. Applebee's, Cheesecake Factory, Chili's and TGIF's are some of the other sit-down chains that also won't tell you what's in their food.
Given how dramatically food production has changed in the last half century, Americans deserve to know what they're eating. That's the impetus behind the growing public support for the labeling of GMOs. Even those who are OK with eating genetically modified corn or soy still would like to know about it.
Chipotle has done a great job with this sort of transparency. The company details its policy against buying meat raised