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Chipotle: Changing the Face of Fast Food?

By Megan Tempest in Food on Feb 2, 2010 4:40PM

2010_02_Chipotle.jpg Fast food is inherently less nutritious than slow food. However, most of us succumb to eating fast food at one time or another. During those times, Chipotle may provide a better option. Take a minute to peruse the nutritional breakdown of the menu, and then choose wisely. Chipotle’s got plenty of vegetarian options and hormone-free meats and dairy. You can opt to load up on beans and veggies, while omitting high-calorie toppings, like sour cream and guacamole. Our biggest gripe about Chipotle (aside from the obscenely large burrito, which is appropriate for two) is the high sodium content. For example, the flour tortilla used to wrap Chipotle’s standard burrito contains 290 calories and a whopping 670mg of sodium. So before you put anything in the burrito, the tortilla alone exceeds the 500 milligram sodium limit we recommend per meal.

Last week Chipotle founder Steve Ellis made a guest appearance on the Oprah Winfrey Show, along with author and food expert” Michael Pollan and actress/noted vegan/cookbook author Alicia Silverstone. In the past Chipotle got a bad rap for its association with the McDonald’s Corporation. However, McDonalds has been 100% divested from Chipotle since 2006. Chipotle’s mission of “Food With Integrity” reflects the company’s goal to provide food that is better for animals, the environment, the farmers, and for the consumer’s health.

Here a handful of Chipotle’s claims to consider:

  • Since 2001, all pork served in Chipotle restaurants has been naturally raised in a humane, ecologically sustainable way
  • More than 50% of Chipotle’s beef is naturally raised, which means no antibiotics, allowing animals to exhibit their natural behaviors in open pasture or deeply- bedded pens, and providing vegetarian feed with no animal by-products
  • The cheese and sour cream used at all Chipotle restaurants is free of the synthetic growth hormone rBGH
  • Chipotle is the largest restaurant buyer of naturally raised meats in the country
  • Foods sold at Chipotle contain no artificial colors or flavorings, and contain zero trans fat (the only exception being the burrito tortilla contains less than 0.5g trans fat)

To read more about the Chipotle vision, history and philanthropic efforts, go here.
Learn more about Michael Pollan here .