The Kitchen Think: Fast Food Clean Up


Have you heard of “clean meat?”

Chipotle Burrito

That’s what the head of the Chipotle Mexican Grill chain calls hormone- and antibiotic-free meats. CEO Steve Ells wants to end the overuse of antibiotics in American meats… and he’s asking Congress to pass a bill that would limit them… and not just in fast food.

Chipotle only uses “clean meat” in its 1,200 fast food restaurants… which was, needless to say, a bit of a surprise to Mama, seeing has how Chipotle is dealing with other nutrition-related problems.

Ells also says that “eating less meat but enjoying it more” is the future of America. Wow. Chicken, ground beef and pork are popular burrito items at Chipotle, so for him to acknowledge that cutting back on meat consumption is a good idea is pretty interesting.

According to a recent study, 75 percent of Americans want the government to restrict the use of antibiotics at animal farms. Another 71 percent believe that the overuse of antibiotic causes us long-term health problems.

Most fast food chains, especially those with global supply systems, say it costs too much for them to serve “clean meat.” But Ells predicts that as Americans become more aware of food-related health issues, they’re going to demand hormone- and antibiotic-free fast food.

I applaud Ells for wanting to eliminate hormones and antibiotics in our food. But he might also want to look in his own backyard—some of his menu items (say the burritos, for example) can contain over 1,000 calories!

If he’s going to talk about helping fast food diners find a healthier mecca, he can’t do it half-way. Serving hormone- and antibiotic-free food means little if some of your menu items make the list of “20 Worst Foods in America” because of  excessively high sodium, fat, cholesterol and carbohydrates.

What do you think?


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I’m Christina Chavez

I was a TV journalist for many years, but with a house full of kids I decided to come off the road, go to culinary school and follow my passion for cooking. Mama’s High Strung is all about food… everything from creative recipe ideas to some really cool kitchen gadgets and cooking tips. I live in Chicago, but I love to travel and write about my food discoveries! You can reach me by email: