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Healthy Fast Food: Chipotle Supports Sustainable Farming

Chipotle Mexican Grill serves local, organic ingredients and naturally raised meat in its fast food.

| November/December 2006

A fast-food chain promotes sustainable farming.

The Bad News

Most meat on fast-food and budget-restaurant menus is from animals raised under inhumane conditions. Pigs, cows and chickens live in overcrowded, enclosed facilities with little or no access to sunlight or fresh air. Diseases spread, requiring excessive antibiotic use. In addition, industrial livestock facilities often store manure in open-air lagoons that contaminate groundwater and air.

The Good News

Chipotle Mexican Grill, a restaurant chain with more than 500 locations, dishes up natural and organic ingredients in its burritos and tacos. Since 2002, Chipotle has served naturally raised pork in all its restaurants. Today, more than half of its chicken and a third of its beef is natural; 25 percent of its beans are organic.

"We'd rather buy meat from farmers who emphasize care over chemicals," Chipotle president Monty Moran says. Animals raised by Niman Ranch and other likeminded Chipotle suppliers have access to pastures and eat only vegetarian feed. They're also never treated with hormones or antibiotics.

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