Chipotle disappointed a whole lot of hungry burrito fans when the Tex-Mex chain announced that they would no longer be selling pork products in one-third of their locations (around 500 restaurants). Carnitas estan muertas. But Chipotle has a good reason for pulling the pork: it was purely an animal welfare decision after they suspended a supplier because the company violated their standards. It was the first time, according to the Associated Press, that Chipotle has ever had to stop serving a burrito/bowl topping altogether (the guacamole slowdown turned out to be a hoax).
"The standards for all of our responsibly raised meats are very high, but the differences in animal welfare are greatest with pork. Given these stark differences, serving pork from conventionally raised pigs is not an option to us," said Chipotle communications director Chris Arnold. "Our responsibly raised pork comes from pigs that are raised with outdoor access or in deeply bedded pens, and without the use of antibiotics. Conventionally raised pigs generally do not have access to the outdoors, spend their lives in densely crowded buildings, live on hard slatted floors with no bedding and no ability to root, and are given antibiotics to keep them from getting sick. We would rather not serve pork at all, than serve pork from animals that are raised in this way."
I'm sure we are all happy to see pigs treated humanely, but when can we expect the carnitas to be back on the menu?
"We are exploring many options to add to our pork supply, including adding new suppliers, finding additional cuts of pork to use, and growing the supply among existing suppliers," said Arnold. "Replacing the supply we have lost in these ways will take some time, but it is important to us to maintain our high standards for pork and we will continue to see some shortage while we work to increase the available supply."
In other words, this may take a while. But score one for Chipotle for their transparency and integrity.
Image Credit: Chipotle