Chipotle Mexican Grill is serious about upholding its Food With Integrity program. It’s so serious about it that the Mexican food chain suspended a pork supplier for violating the company’s standards, the Associated Press reports.
As a result, Chipotle stopped serving pork at hundreds of its restaurants. It’s the first time the company has had to stop serving an ingredient.
Chipotle found out about the supplier’s violations through a routine audit, and most had to do with how the pigs are housed. Chipotle requires its pork suppliers to house pigs humanely and not in cramped pens. The company’s website states that it has sourced 100 percent of its pork from producers who follow its guidelines.
When it comes to beef that doesn’t meet its “responsibly raised” standards, Chipotle has posted signs in a restaurant stating that the beef has been “conventionally raised.” "In this case, we won't make that kind of substitution," Chipotle spokesperson Chris Arnold told the AP.
This time around some restaurants, including locations in New York City, have signs posted that state, “Sorry, no carnitas.” Hundreds of restaurants, totaling about a third of the chain's total base, have had to stop serving pork, the AP reports.
Fortunately for store operators, pork only accounts for about 6 to 7 percent of Chipotle’s entree orders. Arnold said he hopes the supplier will remedy the problems and be “back on board” eventually.
Farm Sanctuary details the effects gestation crates have on the health of pigs. The floors of gestation crates are typically made of slats that allow manure to fall through, so sows live above their own waste. That exposes them to high levels of ammonia, making respiratory disease common. Standing on the floors of a gestation crate, which are hard and unnatural, causes harm to sows’ feet, including foot injuries and damage to joints.
"We've got to treat animals right, and gestation stalls have got to go,” said Dr. Temple Grandin, a renowned animal welfare scientist. "Confining an animal for most of its life in a box in which it is not able to turn around does not provide a decent life."
Pork suppliers like Smithfield Foods, the world’s largest pork producer, and Hormel Foods, the maker of Spam, both announced that their company-owned facilities will be gestation-crate free by 2017. The pork producer Cargill has already phased around 50 percent of the gestation crates out of its operations.
Image credit: Thomas Hawk