Steve Ells, founder and co-CEO of Chipotle, said that South Australia has some of the best beef when looking for cattle raised without hormones or antibiotics – necessary for Chipotle’s ‘Responsibly Raised’ premium range of food.
“Rather than serve conventionally raised steak, we recently began sourcing some steak from ranches in southern Australia, which is among the very best places in the world for raising beef cattle entirely on grass,” Ells said.
“The cattle are raised without added hormones, antibiotics or growth promoters by ranchers committed to humane animal husbandry. The meat produced by these ranchers is “grass-fed” in the truest sense of the term: The cattle spend their entire lives grazing on pastures or rangelands, eating only grass or forages (by definition, forages are hay and grass–corn is not forage). It meets or exceeds the husbandry standards set forth by the American Grassfed Association, not to mention all of the protocols we apply to our domestic Responsibly Raised beef.”
Chipotle has recently grown from around 800 outlets to over 1,600, and their demand for antibiotic and hormone-free premium beef was outstripping the US supply. During 2013, they purchased over 45 million pounds of US beef – not enough to meet their demand.
“In addition to the simple fact that our Australian grass-fed beef is delicious, serving it is an important step in our never-ending journey to help build a food system based on what we call ‘Food With Integrity’. Returning to grass-based farming systems for cattle is a core component of our long-term vision.”
Ells said that he hopes that premium grass-fed beef will turn from a niche in America to a mainstream product, and that South Australian beef is a good example for the US to follow.
“The transition toward grass-fed beef won't happen overnight. But we need to start somewhere, and years of research by our purchasing team suggests that Australia is the best place to start sourcing grass-fed beef at the scale. We’re optimistic that our decision to serve grass-fed beef from Australia is one small step in the larger journey of restoring the practice of raising great American beef entirely on grass.”
Chipotle Mexican Grill
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