Last week, Chipotle Mexican Grill revealed there will be a shortage of pork carnitas in some of its restaurants after it was discovered a supplier was not following company standards. It turns out that locations in Florida will be affected too, according to Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold.
In an email sent to Clean Plate Charlie, Arnold said, "The shortfall is currently impacting about a third of our restaurants. Restaurants in Florida are impacted by this shortfall."
Arnold wasn't specific on which locations in Florida. According to the company website, Chipotle has more than 1,600 stores worldwide.
Chipotle apparently has a policy about not sourcing their swine from suppliers that use antibiotics, confine pigs in small cages and feed them anything other than an all-vegetarian diet. The standards are highest with pork.
"The standards for all of our responsibly raised meats are very high, but the differences in animal welfare are greatest with pork," Arnold said. "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 bedding and 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 that are raised in this way."
When asked, Arnold did not want to reveal the name of the supplier but said there is a possibility they may be able to work with Chipotle again.
"These are good people trying to do good things, and there is no benefit in tarnishing their reputation or hurting their business," Arnold said.
Arnold is not sure how long the shortage will last. In the meantime, Arnold said the company is exploring different options make up for lost supply, including searching for a new supplier. Chipotle recently unveiled a buy-one-get-one-free deal. On January 26, anyone who buys a tofu Sofritas burrito can exchange their receipt for a free entree item.
Chipotle reportedly has used high standards for its meat suppliers for years. Marlene Parrish of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported in 2007 that Chipotle founder and CEO adopted a policy of naturally-raised meat after reading an article on traditional hog farming practices written by food journalist Edward Behr.
Clean Plate Charlie is curious to know if any South Florida locations are being affected. If anyone experiences a shortage in Broward, Palm Beach or Miami-Dade counties, be sure to post pictures of notices to this blog.