Over the past six months Chipotle has discreetly payed financial settlements to more than 100 folks who fell victim to the company’s burrito-borne illnesses. Following usual procedure, the settlements were not disclosed and the court documents were sealed – extremely valuable for a company seeking to avoid another round of public embarrassment.

However, Chipotle’s lawyers aren’t short of work. The company still faces a federal investigation into food safety and two separate lawsuits filed by shareholders.

Panera’s lame game

A group of young food scientists operate “Don't Eat the Pseudoscience" a web site dedicated to flagging stupid behavior by food companies determined to scare consumers.

In the crosshairs of these millennial food scientists is Panera Bread, whose consumer marketing tactics rely on scare and confuse. Think Chipotle on steroids. Panera published its list of no nos last year, the artificial ingredients it eliminated from its food.

This year it launched “The Land of Clean,” an animated game that feeds the pseudoscience, madness.

In Panera’s animation, the food is “untouched by artificial preservatives, sweeteners, flavors and colors from artificial sources.” In response, the folks at Don’t Eat the Pseudoscience created their own video to explain why these chemicals aren’t bad and how they already naturally occur in your food products.

Good fences…

A Utah rancher was sentenced to 18 months of probation last week for castrating his neighbor’s horses. The Salt Lake Tribune reports the 79-year-old rancher was also ordered to write a letter of apology and pay over $2,000 in fines and restitution. He was found guilty of a misdemeanor count of wanton destruction of livestock. The case was the result of the neighbor’s stud crossing the fence to mate with the man’s mares.

Beef exports increase

U.S. beef exports totaled 216 million pounds in July, up 8% from a year ago. Increased shipments to South Korea, Mexico and Japan more than offset a decrease in beef going north to Canada.