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AGRIBUSINESS: Chipotle May Change Beef Standard

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Chipotle Mexican Grill may change its standards to allow beef treated with antibiotics into its restaurants. The restaurant chain known for its burritos has long touted its use of naturally raised meat.  Chipotle is evaluating the use of meat from cattle treated with antibiotics because of an illness. Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold said the company still wouldn’t use beef from animals given to antibiotics to prevent disease and promote weight gain.  According to Co-Chief Executive Officer Steve Ells, many experts believe animals should be allowed to be treated if they are ill and remain in the herd.  Ells said Chipotle is willing to consider this change but will evaluate what is best for Chipotle’s customers, suppliers and the animals.

According to Arnold, Chipotle has not been able to get enough naturally raised beef to meet customer demand.  Nearly 100-percent of the beef sold at Chipotle’s more than 15-hundred stores was naturally raised last year.  That number has been between 80 and 85-percent this year.  He said every year the restaurant chain needs 20 to 25-percent more of everything than it did the year before.  Arnold said the beef supply isn’t keeping up as well.