Meet Your Meat: Chipotle Distributes Photos Of Farms That Supply Their Restaurants

An angry reader wrote us yesterday asking if the photos he’s been finding in his bag along with his Chipotle veggie burrito were legit. Matt wrote:

Last time I got the pigs out on the plains of super green grass (Grass won’t last more than a day under pigs). Today was a lone adult chicken in an otherwise empty commercial coop, perfectly clean bird, on a perfectly clean floor. I know for fact chickens don’t get moved from the time they are chicks, until the vacuum machine comes to box them for transport to the slaughter house. So where is all the bird shit and carcasses that succumbed to walking on the ammonia soaked floor?

This green-washing portrayal is so unrealistic, its possibly criminal. I’ll keep an eye out for the ‘happy frolicking cattle’ one.

We asked Chipotle where they got these bucolic photos of chickens and pigs, and they responded. The photos of happy chickens and pigs are, in fact, from farms that supply Chipotle. Read Chipotle’s response inside.

Chris from Chipotle writes:

Meghann –

It’s a sad state of affairs when someone sees images of animals that are raised right and automatically assumes they are misleading, though many in our industry have provided ample reason for such an impression.

In our case, there’s nothing misleading about the pig and chicken images you’ve mentioned (we also use images of beef cattle in that series). All of these images are from farms that supply our naturally raised meat – meat that comes from animals that are fed a pure vegetarian diet, never given hormones or antibiotics, and raised in a humane way. In all, Chipotle serves more naturally raised meat than any restaurant in the world, including 100% of our pork, about two-thirds of our chicken and nearly half of our beef. Under a philosophy we call “Food With Integrity,” we’ve been working hard to improve the quality of the ingredients we use in our food and the progress we’ve made sourcing naturally raised meat is the most visible manifestation of our progress, but it doesn’t end there. We’ve been working to source organically grown beans and buy more and more each year as the supply increases (this year, 25% of all of our beans are organically grown), and most recently we worked with our sour cream supplier to be sure all of the milk that’s used to make it comes from cows that aren’t treated with the synthetic hormone rBGH.

If there’s anything more you need on this, please let me know. Otherwise, I hope you’ll share this info with your reader. Their skepticism is certainly understandable, but in this case, I hope they’ll be pleased to learn that it’s unfounded.

Best…

Chris

Chris, what were you thinking!? The pigs are so cute, it makes you not want to eat them. Oh well, we love carnitas. Sorry, pigs. —MEGHANN MARCO

(Photo: Chipotle)