Saturday, March 29, 2008

Chipotle

At the Chipotle here there is a sign touting their "naturally raised chicken and pork". It says something like "Our Meat Doesn't Require a Prescription" and then goes on to say "no antibiotics" etc.

Did they stop to think of the logical implication? Does the rest of their meat require a prescription? Hmm.

I hear they are shifting towards offering naturally raised beef though, which makes sense because their pork supplier, Niman Ranch, has gotten into the beef business.

They also have teamed up with Joel Salatin, to source from his sustainable farm in Charlottesville. Whether or not this will lead to sourcing locally in other places remains to be seen, but the story highlights some obstacles to doing so ranging from a non-uniform product to food-safety equipment.

Which leads me to another thing I've learned in my work: if you want to source locally, you need someone dedicated to the project. You can't just send in an order form for 400 carrots, you need to be able to work with a lot of farmers with varied methods of production and often you need enough knowledge to help each farmer provide the product you need.

2 comments:

Barbara said...

It's nice to have a "fast food" place where I can eat, though. If I eat meat there, I only eat the pork, and I like that their dairy products are rBgh free, and what I love is that their food comes from real ingredients which are identifiable as such. THAT is amazing.

That they are a corporation which is providing a large demand for these sustainable products makes them even more remarkable, and makes me more into supporting them.

One is opening up here in Athens, and some residents are upset that it might take business away from a locally owned "Mexicoid" restaurant--Big Mamma's Burritos. It is locally owned, but the food is not locally sourced, nor is it organic or sustainably produced. (And their food tastes like crap on top of that.)

So, I don't feel too bad about lending my support to the corporation in this case.

Fair Food said...

While Chipotle may care about humanely raised meat, it doesn't care about humanely picked tomatoes. When the Coalition of Immokalee Workers--a Florida-based farmworker organization--asked Chipotle to collaborate with them to improve wages and working conditions for the farmworkers who pick tomatoes bought by the company, Chipotle ignored the request. When public protest began mounting, Chipotle went so far as to allegedly suspend tomato purchases from Florida in an effort to avoid improving wages and working conditions. Apparently Chipotle is more interested in avoiding dialogue with farmworkers than in protecting theire human rights.
See for details:
http://www.ciw-online.org/Chipotle_letter.html
http://www.ciw-online.org/Chipotle_debate.html
http://www.sfalliance.org/resources/ChipotleAFF.pdf