AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas agriculture commissioner Todd Staples says he was shocked to learn that Chipotle decided to get its beef from Australia rather than Texas.
“What concerned me and really disgruntled me is that he called it responsible raised beef,” said Staples. “It’s not really responsible to ship in product over 8,000 miles. It’s not responsible not to talk to Texas beef producers.”
A spokesman for Chipotle says they would prefer to buy beef from American producers but hormone and antibiotic free beef supplies have dwindled in recent years.
Staples claims Texas is the leading beef producer in the US and claims ranchers are ready to comply with any hormone or antibiotic free demands.
“If the market is demanding a product, Texans can provide that both grass fed and grain fed beef are both very safe for you.” said Commissioner Staples, “But if consumers want a product Texas ranchers are ready to deliver”.
The Chipotle spokesperson went on to say that they only use a portion of the entire animal and unless ranchers are willing to take a loss they won’t be able to buy Texas beef.
Staples says he wants to meet with Chipotle to find if any other motives are at play.
“If he said let’s have five bids from five different processors and he said I’ve got five bids from Australia and are all 25 percent less expensive,” added Staples, “then lets have that conversation.”
And put his beef with Chipotle to rest.
Since this story was first published, Chipotle Mexican Grill’s founder agreed to talk with Texas Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples’ beef with the chain’s decision to import some of its grass-fed beef from Australia. Steve Ells’ letter says he’d “be more than happy” to provide information about Chipotle’s beef protocols to Staples and Texas ranchers.