Chipotle-Higher Quality Food

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Chipotle Mexican Grille opened a new fast food restaurant in Easton, Maryland last week. We attempted to eat there on December 20th but the lines were too long. By using organic vegetables and pasture raised meat, locally raised if possible, Chipotle is setting a much higher standard of quality for all restaurants. Steve Ells the founder decided to use pasture raised animal products, after visiting Factory Farms (CAFO’s) in 1999. Another benefit of pasture raised animals is reduction in corn feed production which along with CAFO manure is primarily responsible for the nutrient contamination of every river and estuary East of the Rockies including the Gulf of Mexico and Chesapeake Bay. Both of these estuaries had near record oxygen dead zones in the summer of 2011. Short cuts in soil management to produce corn have caused the U.S. Corn Belt to lose half its topsoil. Chesapeake Bay had record sediment intrusion in March of 2011. Long-term studies by Harvard University, the National Cancer Institute, the American Institute for Cancer Research, and the World Cancer Research Fund cite overconsumption of red meat and process meat, mostly CAFO raised, along with high fructose corn sugar and refined grains as primarily responsible for our epidemics of cancer, heart disease, obesity and diabetes. Why are lines so long in Easton as well as the restaurants on M street in Washington, DC and in Annapolis? Certainly it is not the ambiance. The tacos and burritos are served on paper plates with plastic utensils and it is bench seating with little or no privacy. Could it be that young people (most of the customers are in their 20’s) are interested in healthier food that is produced in a way that is sensitive to the welfare of animals and restoration of the environment? We went next door to Bob Evans which was half empty. I did have the opportunity to suggest to the manager that he tell ownership of this shift in demand for higher quality food.

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