Food With “Integrity”

Feb 27, 2012 by

There’s been a huge uproar this week over Chipotle restaurant’s new video “Back to the Start” promoting their “Food With Integrity” program.  Farmers and ranchers are PISSED!  This is not a group of people you want as an enemy.  Don’t believe me, just ask Oprah.


The video starts out showing an animated farmer and the pigs he raises, out in the open air.  Then it becomes pigs in a pen, pigs in a barn, pigs on a factory farm, etc.  It goes on to show the farmer feeling conflicted about putting these pills in their food, presumably representing antibiotics.  It shows him feeling guilty about putting the pigs in pens indoors.  Eventually, he gets a wild hair and decides to tear down the pens, barns, sheds and go “back to the start” which, of course, means no to big buildings and yes to loading the pork onto a Chipotle truck.  The end.


I must admit that my heart was pumping pret-ty hard after watching that video.


Listen, it’s not hard to understand where Chipotle is coming from, at a base level.  Their “Food With Integrity” program, according to, means that they don’t want chickens who are fed arsenic.  They don’t want dairy from cows given rGBH.   They claim to want to support family farms.  Well, what do you know?  These are all things *I* want!



Let’s talk about this video.  If Chipotle wants to pretend like they have integrity because of where they shop, perhaps it would be good to have some integrity in how they advertise/market their products and restaurants, don’t you think?


This video has several problems, most of which I will leave to the actual agriculture information groups and livestock farmers themselves.  My issues are the following:

1. As I mentioned, the “Food With Integrity” program is severely lacking in advertising integrity.  For starters, farmers want to take CARE of their animals.  They want HEALTHY animals.  Why? Because sick and dead animals don’t sell.  It doesn’t make financial sense.  So this business about the green sludge, antibiotics and, although they didn’t mention it, we might as well throw vaccinations in the discussion too, is just misleading to the average consumer.


Let’s bring it back to humans for a second.  Do you know any parent out there who wants to give their children antibiotics in their food just because?  No.  And there are a number of reasons why not.  Do you really think farmers want to just spend a boatload of money pumping their animals full of unnecessary antibiotics?  I can tell you, the answer is no.  Farmers and ranchers are vaccinating animals at birth, just like humans, and giving them antibiotics when necessary.

This idea of not putting pigs in pens because the close quarters can get too many of them sick, therefore equaling “inhumane treatment” is also a load of crap.  Are you going to stop sending your kids to school because when one gets sick they all get sick and therefore may require antibiotics or, gasp!, shots?  Does it seem “inhumane” to put your kids in daycare because they’re in close quarters with other (potentially sick) children?  I didn’t think so.


2. I am so sick of hearing about “factory farming” I think *I* might need a shot.  Who is a factory farmer anyway? As dramatic as this video is with Chipotle getting this hero complex and making farmers look either like the bad guy (factory farmers) or the hapless victim (factory farmer who “sees the light”), depending on how you look at it, the sad part is this video doesn’t touch on the real victims…the farmers.  (And, more so, the consumers.)  The average person probably has no idea what goes on in rural America, on the farm.  How could they?


How many people read’s “Food With Integrity” section and don’t think or know enough to dig a little deeper?  Their very own site states “We source organic and local produce whenever practical.”  Um…what is practical, exactly?  Have you ever gone shopping for local and organic produce at Whole Foods because it’s practical?  Nothing about Whole Foods is practical.  It’s expensive.  If I wanted to be practical, I would go to Walmart and buy my produce there.  It’s closer, cheaper and I can get everything in one stop.  But it’s probably not local OR organic.  So, Chipotle, when, exactly, is it practical to buy organic and local produce?  Why don’t you just get out from under your hero complex and admit that the only time it’s “practical” is when you can show your true colors and bully the local and organic farmers to give you dirt cheap prices?  Oh wait, because then you wouldn’t be the hero anymore.


If they’re trying to say they would ALWAYS buy organic and local produce and antibiotic-free meats BUT it’s not PRACTICAL, then I would like to refer them to my 4th grade teacher Mrs. List who wisely said, “But, but, but, we all have one, so what’s your point?”


It’s time we individuals with agricultural knowledge stepped up and started letting everyone know that we aren’t going to be bullied into the background, into silence, anymore.  There are a lot of young farmers now and we aren’t afraid of social media, of getting our truths out there.   I love Chipotle’s food.  I am not telling anyone to stop eating there or write nasty letters or anything of the sort.  I simply hope that this is a teaching moment for all of us who ARE in agriculture and DO know better.  When you know better, you do better, so let’s do better, farmers!

Related Posts


Share This

1 Comment

  1. LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: