Chipotle Mexican Grill

December 31, 2015

December 31, 2015

 Hello everybody out there in farm country. This radio commentary is brought to you by John Deere and the National Corn Growers Association. They are all friends, supporters, and allies of a healthy farm economy and prosperous rural America. Thank you.

And now for today’s commentary—

Today’s subject – Chipotle Mexican Grill – they sell “food with integrity.” They have been marketing with misleading ads and videos, suggesting that conventional food production – you know, “factory farms” – are selling unsafe food. Chipotle sells cleaner, healthier food. Well, the “chickens have come home to roost.” Their food has proven to be more germ-infested and unhealthy than their competition. In December, there was an outbreak of norovirus, sickening more than 120 in Boston. They had eaten at Chipotle. Back in August, a California Chipotle Grill sickened 80 customers. Their grills in 8 states were closed after E-coli was traced to their restaurants.

Chipotle built their brand by putting down modern food production, boasting about “local grown food, responsibly raised, sustainable, and GMO free.” They have been bragging about organic even though much of their food is not organic. Last year, Chipotle broadcast a video about the “utterly unsustainable world of industrial agriculture.”

For one restaurant chain to experience 5 outbreaks in 8 different states and different kinds of food poisoning suggests that they must be doing something wrong. They have promised to fix the problem whatever it is. All I can say – they had better stop pretending to be so far above the rest of us where we accept and employ modern technology.

Today’s efficient agricultural industry can feed a family with less than 10% of their income. In 1950, family food costs exceeded 25% of family income. Do we want to go back and farm the way my grandfather did?

As you might expect, Chipotle stock has collapsed with the bad news. This whole episode might send a good message. We should rely on sound science and not listen to some company crowing about how superior they are because they ignore new technology.

If you would like to review my radio shows going back more than 20 years, just go on-line to Have a great weekend.

Until next week, I am John Block from Washington, D.C.