Ubi carnitas

January 15, 2015

Good job, Chipotle.

I’ve taken the burrito chain to task before for letting their ethical standards for beef—themselves an admirable and forward-thinking thing—take a back seat to growth and demand. Now Chipotle’s doing with pork exactly what they should have done with beef: responding to a shortage of meat that meets their standard by simply not serving pork at certain locations.

The situations aren’t identical. Their shortages of up-to-snuff beef have been an ongoing situation. The pork thing is more acute and sudden, the result of an audit that found a supplier failing to comply with animal welfare standards. There’s no evidence that Chipotle cares more about pigs now than it did about cattle then. Nor is it clear that the company has seen the error of its ways and will never again encourage its customers to consume an unsustainable amount of meat.

Still, they’re doing the right thing here. For a standard to mean something, it has to be enforced and upheld. They’re doing that, and their carnitas (if you can get it) remains a distinctly “better than” option for the pork lovers among us.

I also appreciate this promotion they came up with: an incentive to try their tofu option (which I’ve had; it’s pretty good). Here’s hoping they’ll make some more menu changes to encourage people to opt for their tasty, comparatively ethical meat less frequently or in smaller portions.