Chipotle Hypocrisy: American Antibiotics Bad, British Antibiotics Good

This is cross-posted from

We’ve written before about how misguided Chipotle’s so-called “Food with Integrity” principles can be on animal welfare. By prohibiting the use of any antibiotics—even to sick animals—and requiring farmers to allow pigs to be exposed to the elements, Chipotle’s requirements for its meat suppliers can reduce animal welfare.

But Chipotle’s misguided “integrity” is almost entirely opportunistic. When meats that meet the company’s standards aren’t available, Chipotle doubles back on its principles by selling “conventionally produced” food. And that explains why the company is okay with its latest pork procurement from a British company:

Chipotle acknowledged that while Karro’s [their new pork producer] practices meet its animal welfare standards, their antibiotic use policy differs from the standard Chipotle demands of its U.S. suppliers.

While Chipotle prohibits antibiotics use — even to treat illness in hogs — for the pork they purchase from U.S. suppliers, they allow such antibiotics use by Karro.

Basically, Chipotle’s pig housing rules—which seem to mimic what the vegan activist group Humane Society of the United States advocates for—caused the company to run so short of pork for its (very large and high-calorie) burritos that it had to stop selling carnitas. Because most U.S. farms use individual maternity pens for pregnant pigs—which is banned by Chipotle—the restaurant chain apparently had nowhere to go, so it simply couldn’t serve pork at one-third of its locations. Reportedly  this hurt Chipotle’s profits—so it bent its  rule on antibiotics to get foreign pork. (Apparently it also shelved its principle of “local sourcing” with this decision as well.)

And while Chipotle says that they’re just endorsing European Union antibiotics rules, that’s a meaningless diversion from their hypocrisy. Both European and U.S. farmers use antibiotics in accordance with veterinary guidance and government regulation, which ensures that antibiotic residues are eliminated from the final meat supply.

This isn’t the first time that Chipotle’s “integrity” proves to be sensitive to their stock holders. Their program is little more than a marketing ploy—made obvious by the company’s position against genetically modified foods, which a scientific consensus holds are just as healthy or safe as  conventional foods.

In honor of Chipotle’s longstanding hypocrisy and reliance on bovine excrement in its marketing, we’ve put together a little graphic on just how to speak “Chipotle.” Keep it handy the next time you want to buy a burrito.