We’ve tangled with a lot of activists trying to take choices away from Americans or needlessly feed them misinformation them about their food. We’re a small group, but our repertoire of opponents includes the Humane Society of the United States ($120 million budget), PETA ($35 million), Michael Bloomberg (net worth: $37 billion), and the Center for Science in the Public Interest (well…fairly insignificant).
Today we are taking on a new group: The multibillion-dollar multinational corporation Chipotle.
Chipotle has painted a false narrative of “Food with Integrity” in its marketing to attack farmers and mislead consumers. There was the Chipotle video “Scarecrow,” which positioned the company as an alternative to so-called “industrial” food and “factory farming”—even though the company gets food from literal tortilla factories and could be nicknamed “Big Burrito.”
Then, there was Chipotle’s decision earlier this year to ditch genetically improved ingredients from its menu. This GMO-free policy was derided by NPR, The Washington Post, and others. Numerous scientific bodies recognize GMOs to be just as safe as other foods—exposing Chipotle’s anti-GMO policy as essentially pandering to misinformation from ignorant corners of the Internet.
Then, there’s Chipotle’s boasting that its “Food with Integrity” forbids the use of antibiotics. In other words, farmers aren’t allowed to use antibiotics to prevent their animals from getting sick, which makes as much sense as banning flu shots and vaccines. Also, American farmers who want to sell their animals to Chipotle can’t use antibiotics even to treat sickness in an animal. That’s Chipotle’s version of “integrity.”
This morning Chipotle’s chief flak Chris Arnold defended the corporation to The Washington Post, saying there’s “nothing false at all about our marketing.” Really? Here’s one billboard saying: “Did you want antibiotics with your lunch? We didn’t think so. All meats served in Kansas City are naturally raised.”
The ad is patently false. The federal government mandates that any animal given antibiotics go through a withdrawal period before it becomes food so that the medicine is eliminated from its body (just like how Advil doesn’t stay in one’s body forever). To imply that other restaurants are serving antibiotics in food is simply scurrilous.
We could go on. And plenty of us here do like Chipotle food. But, much like eating an overstuffed burrito too quickly, the marketing can make us want to puke. Check out our new project at www.ChubbyChipotle.com and please share it. People deserve to get “the rest of the story.”