Chipotle Pulls Pork from Restaurants to Appease Muslims?

Rumor: Chipotle has stopped offering pork at their restaurants to appease Muslim customers.

Claim:   Chipotle has stopped offering pork at its restaurants in order to appease Muslim customers.


FALSE


Example:   [Collected via Twitter, January 2015]



 

Origins: Shortly after the Chipotle Mexican Grill dining chain removed pork from the menus of about a third of its restaurants in early January 2015, a rumor started claiming the chain had made the decision in order to appease the Muslim community. Hundreds of angry customers took to social media, accusing the restaurant of bowing to “Sharia law”:


However, according to Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold, the decision to temporarily take pork off some menus had nothing to do with religion; it was made because the company discovered one its pork suppliers was violating the restaurant’s livestock-housing rules.



This is fundamentally an animal-welfare decision and is rooted in our unwillingness to compromise our standards.

Conventionally raised pigs generally do not have access to the outdoors, spend their lives in densely crowded buildings, live on hard, slatted floors with no ability to root and are given antibiotics to keep them from getting sick. We would rather not serve pork at all than serve pork from animals raised in that way.


The restaurant chain has also communicated via Twitter about its reasons for removing pork from some menus:


On its web site, Chipotle states in a section called “Food with Integrity” it has strict guidelines for its pork suppliers. The restaurant gets pork only from suppliers who “naturally raise” their pigs. This means the pigs are raised outdoors or in deeply bedded pens, are fed a vegetarian diet, and are not given antibiotics. Chipotle has been following these guidelines since 2001:



Many pigs are raised on factory farms and kept in small pens that do not allow for freedom of movement, limiting their ability to express natural behaviors. These pigs are given large amounts of subtherapeutic antibiotics to keep them from getting sick and enhance growth. According to the Union of Concerned Scientists, American pork producers use over 10 million pounds of antibiotics per year to keep their confinement-raised pigs from getting sick. That’s more than three times the estimated amount used to treat all human illness.

We choose to buy our pork from farmers who do things differently.

There are farmers whose pigs are raised outside or in deeply bedded pens, are never given antibiotics and are fed a vegetarian diet. It’s the way animals were raised before huge factory farms changed the industry. We believe pigs that are cared for in this way enjoy happier, healthier lives and produce the best pork we’ve ever tasted.

We call this style of farming and ranching naturally raised, and since 2001, Chipotle has sourced 100% of our pork from producers who follow these guidelines.


Last updated:   15 January 2015

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