Chipotle Mexican Grill announced that it has reached an important milestone in its efforts to serve sour cream and cheese made with milk from pasture-raised dairy cows.
Beginning this month, 100 percent of the restaurants' sour cream will come from pasture-raised cattle. Under this protocol, cows have daily access to outdoor pastures, are never given added hormones, and are fed a plant-based diet. In addition, the animals must have access to shelter, housing, or windbreaks that provide adequate protection from the elements.
"We are constantly looking at every ingredient we use to make our food and how we can get them from better, more sustainable sources," says Steve Ells, founder, chairman, and co-CEO of Chipotle. "For too long, food made with more sustainably raised ingredients has been out of reach to many consumers, but we are changing that. It's one of the ways we are changing the way people think about and eat fast food. Food made with these great ingredients should be available and affordable to everyone."
According to Farm Sanctuary, a leading farm animal protection organization, three our of four dairy cows in the U.S. never graze in pasture, and a significant number of dairy cows are denied routine access to the outdoors.
In addition to its sour cream, 65 percent of the cheese served at Chipotle restaurants is produced with dairy from pasture-raised cows.
Chipotle also serves all naturally raised meat--from animals that are raised in a humane way and never given antibiotics or added hormones--in all of its restaurants.