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9 Disappointing Facts about Chipotle

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1. Chipotle doesn't do all of its own cooking: Some is done by an outside company, the same one that makes McDonald's McNuggets, Big Macs, and McRibs.

Chipotle's website says its "fresh cooking" is done "using classic culinary techniques - no shortcuts." But Chipotle doesn't do all of its own cooking: Two outside processing companies in Chicago, OSI and Miniat Holdings, braise the carnitas and barbacoa, trim the steaks, cook the beans, and make the bases for the restaurant's green and red tomatillo salsas, all according to Chipotle's specifications. (Everything else, said Chris Arnold, Chipotle's communications director, "is made entirely in the restaurants.")

OSI, a global meat processing corporation with facilities in 17 countries, also supplies McDonald's with its burgers, nuggets, and other "value-added protein items" on its menu. 2. Some of Chipotle's locally sourced food travels thousands of extra miles so it can be processed in Chicago.            

2. Some of Chipotle's locally sourced food travels thousands of extra miles so it can be processed in Chicago.

"The less distance food has to travel," Chipotle's website says, "the better." Sourcing locally - defined by the company as within 350 miles from the restaurant - has long been part of the Chipotle mantra. It's good for local economies, the environment, and the consumers, who get to enjoy the freshest foods.

But the ingredients for the carnitas, barbacoa, beans, and salsa bases, even when raised or grown just a short distance away from the restaurants serving them, have all traveled through Chicago, either through OSI or Miniat facilities. This is for consistency purposes, even if it has the potential to add thousands of food miles to your burrito. "You get cuts delivered and packaged to our specifications," Arnold said. "It's prepared in a really efficient and consistent way by having that done in fewer places than you would doing it in multiple places."     


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