Where’s the integrity?

Just like a playground bully who is finally stood up to, Chipotle is crying foul.

Chipotle Mexican Grill, curators of large, calorie-laden burritos, have also become known for its stand against modern livestock production. They stand behind their “Food With Integrity” slogan, implying that the people supplying Chipotle restaurants with produce are the only ones concerned about the health of their crops and livestock. They only want to serve pork that is from hogs who were allowed “to freely root and roam outdoors or in deeply bedded barns.”

I know plenty of hog producers who have integrity, and you know what? They raise their hogs inside environmentally controlled barns, and some of those hogs were born to mothers who farrowed in a crate or stall.

I also know hog farmers who choose not to raise hogs in the modern production model. You know what? These producers have integrity as well.

The restaurant’s road to dining nirvana and its idealistic mission has been bumpy, as it had to discontinue serving pork earlier this year when they got word that a supplying producer wasn’t abiding by the restaurant’s animal treatment standards.

To meet the demand for pork, or carnitas, Chipotle turned to a British pork supplier. So much for the company’s “buying local” approach. In buying pork from the British Karro supplier, Chipotle did admit that Karro uses antibiotics “when necessary to keep an animal healthy.” So tell me again why the company doesn’t buy U.S. pork!

Twisting the truth has long been the American way to make one’s own product look better, and Chipotle is apparently good at playing that game. But watch out when the page is turned.

That gets me back to playground bully I opened up with. Chipotle has been beating up U.S. modern livestock production, but recently the Center for Consumer Freedom has called shenanigans on Chipotle’s tofu and beans. An ad funded by the CCF claims that, though the restaurant claims its product to be free of added hormones, its tofu and beans have more hormones than beef.

Of course, Chipotle responds to such attack ads by calling them smear campaigns, with a company spokesman saying the ad campaign is “based on inaccurate representations of our positions.”

Typical bully; call them out by using their own tactics and they don’t like when they get slapped in the face.

I have never understood the approach of some company that tout their way of doing business is the only way to do business. Chipotle has fooled the American consumer by spouting its “Food With Integrity” mantra that the Chipotle-way must be the only way.

The Chipotle-way is not the only way. As a matter of fact I have heard market experts say that there are not enough livestock producers meeting the restaurant’s standards to be able to meet the demand and supply necessary to feed the Chipotle-going lemmings.

As full disclosure, when Chipotle first came to our area, I could not get enough of it. It seemed like I would eat there weekly. Give me one barbacoa burrito fajita with cheese, fresh-tomato salsa and brown rice and I was in heaven.

Then something changed. Chipotle’s attack on my livelihood changed the way I looked at my food. Sure it was tasty, but I took a hard look in the mirror. I saw integrity.

TAGS: Business
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