2 Tuscaloosa Chipotle locations stop serving carnitasBy Margaret Wilbourne | 01/22/2015 12:41pm
Traditionally, diners had the option of chicken, steak, barbacao or carnitas. In 2013 the chain added sofritas, a braised tofu, to their menu as a meat substitute.
In an effort to advertise the new product, Chipotle is offering a promotion. Customers who order sofritas on Jan. 26 can bring their receipt back to any Chipotle location through Feb. 28 to receive a free burrito, bowl, salad or order of tacos.
Abby Kershek, a freshman majoring in nutrition, said she applauds Chipotle’s dedication to their principals, something not always backed up by a company when it could be bad for their business.
“I think it’s really great of Chipotle to follow their own standards, [because now] customers can see that they really do care about where their food comes from,” she said.
The restaurant’s motto, “Food with Integrity,” highlights the company’s focus on ensuring its products come from farms following their welfare standards. According to Chipotle’s website, the company only sources pork that is “being raised outside or in deeply bedded pens, never given antibiotics, and fed a vegetarian diet.”
Kershek, who has been a vegetarian for the last three years, said while she doesn’t think animals should be killed, she would rather see them treated under Chipotle’s standards than none at all.
“I think that being cage-free and allowed to roam is a better way for them to be treated before being killed,” she said. “They deserve to be happy before death.”
After finding their suppliers methods to be in the company’s view unethical, Tiffany Heimbach, a junior majoring in biology and dance and an employee of Chipotle, said the company decided to stop doing business with their supplier.
“We found out our suppliers’ meat did not meet our quality standards, and instead of selling carnitas that are not fitting to the stores’ values they decided to not sell them at all,” Heimbach said.
Mark Ortiz, a senior majoring in religious studies and interdisciplinary studies who frequents Chipotle, said his decision to eat there is influenced by the company’s attention to animal welfare.
While he supports Chipotle’s strides to provide humanely raised livestock, he said he is skeptical of its power to expand the same welfare standards to other chains.
“So long as the Chipotle model of standard format fast food prevails, I don’t think humane conditions across supply chains will ever be a reality,” he said. “[Chipotle’s] capacity to catalyze change is limited by design.”
While this change may be limited, Chipotle has continued to make headlines in the area of animal welfare, with a set of 2013 YouTube videos dealing with the treatment of livestock on farms.
Lee House, a junior majoring in biology, said his praise of the restaurant chains lies more with the concept of the quality of the food being sold to the consumer. He said while the recent disappearance of pork from many Chipotle menus, such as the local Chipotle locations on The Strip and in Midtown Village, won’t directly affect his decision to dine there, it is an admirable move by the company.
“Does it impact whether I would still eat there or not? No, but I think it’s cool that such a large, successful chain still cares so much about their [food’s] quality,” he said.
In a statement released by Chipotle Inc., spokesperson Chris Arnold said to the Associated Press, “It’s hard to say how long [the cuts] will last.”
Remedies to the problem, such as using different cuts of meat and suppliers, are currently being explored.