What’s in Chipotle’s Food? They Still Won’t Tell Us!

After writing Food Babe Investigates: Chipotle vs. Moes on 100 Days of Real Food, I had a meeting with Chipotle’s Director of Communication, Chris Arnold about why they didn’t post their ingredients. Chris wasn’t exactly sure why their headquarters doesn’t give out the ingredient list and indicated that posting their ingredient information wasn’t a top priority because it is too complex. Chipotle is planning a website redesign to “maybe” include this information at some point… but it’s not in the near future.

Meanwhile, over on Chipotle’s Facebook page, they made excuses for not posting the ingredients because they were afraid of other restaurants “copy catting” their recipes. I don’t know about you, but common sense tells me if someone like me could get a hold of their ingredients after some poking and prodding, I think a company who wanted to copy their recipes would certainly be able to do the same.

Their reasons just don’t add up. I find Chipotle’s marketing decision to not post their ingredients horribly WRONG and it goes against everything they are telling us about their food. If “it’s what inside that counts” – why are they refusing to tell us what’s actually inside?

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Making the ingredients available via a downloadable file on Chipotle’s website would be EASY, even if Chipotle’s ingredients are readily changing as they make improvements or substitutions. A great example of this is by one of their competitors Qdoba, who makes all of their ingredients available here. Chipotle even likely already has a list of ingredients printed somewhere just like this, probably hidden back at their headquarters. All they would have to do is make this list public – I really don’t see the complexity.

Ecorazzi was so inspired by the investigation, that they created this petition on Care2 to put even more pressure on Chipotle to post their ingredients.

The goal is only 1000 signatures – I know we can beat this, especially if every one reading right now signs it.

Please sign it now and share this petition with all your burrito loving friends.

Just remember…We have the right to know what’s in our food.

We can make change, I truly believe that.

Thank you for being a part of this very important movement.

Food Babe

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41 Responses to “What’s in Chipotle’s Food? They Still Won’t Tell Us!”

  1. Laura

    That is probably why the two times I have gone to eat there, expecting “clean” food, I get horribly ill. I will never go there again, and even more so now….

    Reply
    • Rachel (to Laura)

      I’ve felt a little sick at times after eating there too. Not a fan!

      Reply
  2. Allen

    Who eats there?

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to Allen)

      Good question!

      Reply
    • Fiona (to Allen)

      Whether we do or not (and I have occasionally in the past), it’s always packed to the gills at lunch hour here in NYC. Literally lines out the door. So, a lot of people do eat there.

      Honestly, I don’t think that kind of wonderment (“Who eats there?”) is helpful if you are trying to educate people. That is alienating.

      Reply
      • Ana (to Fiona)

        Agreed. If no one ate there, wouldn’t be worth fighting for better ingredients now would it? =)

  3. Julie

    The excuse of their ingredients being “too complex” really scares me! Should “real” food be pretty simple?

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to Julie)

      Yes – they are a publicly traded company, I’m sure they could hire one person to keep track of this for them and update their website. Shoot – I even offered to help them.

      Reply
      • Jeff (to Food Babe)

        And as a publically traded company they are legally obligated to do what is best for their shareholders. If doing what you say will increase value then they will do so. If not they wont.

        And if you invest the money you earn in the stock market (in any form, direct, 401k, mutual fund, etc.) then this is something you want over the long term.

  4. Melanie

    There is not a Chipotle near me but what a joke to call it food with integrity and not list the ingredients.

    Reply
  5. Makenzie

    The manager at my local Qdoba also mentioned recently they will begin offering brown rice soon. He said they are currently “testing a few different recipes” and once that’s settled it will show up on their menu.

    Reply
  6. Jasanna

    That is just silly. I’m off to sign the petition now! C’mon Chipotle! Why wouldn’t someone be transparent…unless they are hiding something?

    Reply
  7. stacie

    is it true that Chipotle is owned by the McDonald’s corporation? If so, I can understand why they wouldn’t want to advertise their ingredients.

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to stacie)

      They used to get funds from them… but not anymore.

      Reply
      • Jeff (to Food Babe)

        This is partially true but more or less misleading,

        Chipotle was originally independent. Then McDonalds became their largest investor which allowed for dramatic expansion.

        Then Chipotle went public. Thus, Chipotle is publicly owned and “gets funds” for anyone who owns a single share of their stock. McDonald’s subsequently divested themselves of all their shares.

        I apologize if I seem like I am trolling. That is not my intention, instead it is to clarify some things. Much like what your blog is intended to do. I guess the question is “who is watching the watch(wo)men?”

  8. Tina

    Don’t go to Chipotle if you don’t trust the company. Everyone needs to relax.

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to Tina)

      That’s the problem Tina. The US Gov’t has relaxed regulation on our food and it’s making everyone sick, literally.

      Reply
      • Jeff (to Food Babe)

        Then why not direct your energy to the true culprits, the Obama administration.

        Micheal Taylor as Food Czar. He is the who decided that milk from cows treated with BGH did not have to be labeled as such. Saying it is the same. Even Chipotle doesn’t use hormone milk.

      • Jordan (to Jeff)

        It’s not really the Obama administration. It’s been going on for twenty years now. Every commissioner of the FDA, and really all regulatory departments for that matter, have been big business fluffers for quite some time.

  9. C.

    Awesome job Food Babe! Transparancy in food labeling has become a huge issue in my life since my son & I were diagnosed with Celiac disease. Why would anyone (with food sensitivities or not) choose to eat where ingredients were kept secret? If they can’t tell us what IS in the food, how can they tell us what ISN’T in the food? Trust isn’t enough… disclosure should be required. Keep on rockin’ Food Babe!

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to C.)

      Thanks so much. Don’t you think we need to have the same food rights as people in China and Russia? For goodness sakes.

      Reply
      • geobill (to Food Babe)

        you have gone too far are you kidding these are not the models of health in the world.

      • Jeff (to Food Babe)

        Again, complaining to a pretty decent company is misplaced.

        Why not take all this effort and energy and attack the administration?

        It is common knowledge in the policy world that if one wants change, attacking a participant in the market will only have a marginal impact compared to changing the rules by which the market is run.

        In other words, real change comes from state coercion. (That is multi-leveled. The people must coerce the state to change policy which then legitimately coerces private enterprise.)

  10. debbie T

    Thank you so much for your investigation on this. I can’t believe that I believed their marketing lies. We don’t eat out very often, but we do sometimes choose Chipotle because we thought it was a better choice than other fast food restaurants. They are no better than any other chain! grrrr!

    Reply
  11. JasonMChicago

    I’ve been battling and winning against a complex chronic health problem and I eat only food that comes from the ground. Veggies, very little fruit, and meat (okay that doesn’t come from the ground but you know what I mean). Anyway I’ve been at it for several months with no break really… I decided to give Chipotle a try since they were okay (for fast food) and last time I went I got GI problems. I think this is the case because I eat SO CLEAN. Food, water, etc. is very, very pure… and the Chipotle (even without the bread) caused a backlash. Now I’ll have to rethink it. They do good things though they have rBGH free milk and source some organic beans, etc. They also use Polyface Farms for their pork if you live near Virginia (?).

    Reply
    • Food Babe (to JasonMChicago)

      WOW – I feel pretty much the same way when I go out to eat questionable food. Glad to hear you are winning the battle against chronic health issues. I used to have them too before I discovered this lifestyle. Good Luck!

      Reply
  12. dc

    I signed the petition. Chipotle cannot hide the truth

    Reply
  13. kelley h

    My boyfriend and I recently ate at Fresh MXN- the bean and rice burritos(hoping they were vegan).. It was so good we ended up eating there multiple times that week. I got curious why we kept craving it so I tried to find to find an ingredients list on their website but there is no mention anywhere. I’m still waiting back for a response to my email asking for a list.. I”m surprised that this kind of info is not more readily available. Thanks for bringing more awareness to this!

    Reply
  14. Chris Burga

    I love Chipotle. They are the best fast food meal I can get. Considering all they are trying to get right, they are head and shoulders above their competition. Cut them some slack.

    Reply
    • Kim (to Chris Burga)

      Agreed! I think Food Babe should look into Steve Ells a bit more… he is a chef with a vision to provide healthy food and has an incredible story.. Perhaps they really don’t want to give away their recipe secrets? I don’t blame them.

      Reply
  15. Jeff

    hat is most disturbing about this article is not that a restaurant doesn’t want to give away their ingredients or cooking methods, but how angry the author is.

    The solution is simple: just dont eat at the establishment if you require a complete breakdown of how their food is made. No one forces you to eat there!

    The article is also misleading. Hydrogenated oils are not necessarily genetically modified. I am not saying hydrogenated oils are healthy, but Chipotle DOES list their nutritional facts and so one can look at the amount of fat (un, sat, and trans) in their product. (Aside from Sour Cream, the highest product has only 3.5 grams of saturated fat).

    Furthermore, Chipotle products are also Trans Fat free, yet Hydrogenation is used to create Trans fat. Something doesnt add up.

    That’s not to say that the oils used are GMO free, they certainly could have been made from modified seeds.

    But then again GMOs drastically reduce the cost of food and help provide food to the world’s population. There is a give and a take. If you are writing on this blog, you have enough money to decide what you eat.

    If one orders correctly, they can get a very healthy meal at chipotle with the only real negative the level of sodium.

    Example: 49g protein, 86g carbs, 22g Fiber, only 3 grams saturated fat! Those ratios are incredible for any restaurant, or any meal for that matter. In fact, if one works out, this would be a wonderful post-workout meal to build muscle and provide energy to the body.

    I dont have any relationship to Chipotle, but I am defending them because they have dont nothing wrong. They dont force anyone to eat their food. They are a MUCH better alternative to almost any restaurant and I’d bet a better alternative to most people’s kitchen. The one problem is the level of sodium.

    Reply
  16. Rachel S

    so with all of the *awesome* focus being on the Kraft petition – I just wanted to take a moment to tell you that the other day I heard a Chipotle ad on the radio and they specified that they now offer “Verified GMO-Free corn tortillas” — I can’t help but think that YOU (Food Babe) had something (or everything) to do with that. I know it’s only one food item on their menu, but I still think it’s So Amazing!! Keep up the good work — they are hearing you out there, now we just need to get Kraft to actually Listen ;)

    Reply
  17. Kristin

    I was recently given the url to this page and I thought it was a great idea. But this article disturbs me as it has no reference point in time and the information is well outdated. I’ve been carefully eating non-GMO at Chipotles for over a year by reading their ingredient page. I see Greg posted the link which I was going to do. But he did this back in November of last year and you’ve still done nothing to update this entry. If you are going to research and expose food companies you need to keep up on what they are doing to amend.

    I will approach future articles on this site with a lot more caution.

    Reply
  18. Jaime

    Food babe you good in my book do your thang don’t let no one put you down keep fighting the battle for better food and for the people to be living a better life style good job

    Reply
  19. Jason

    Watching my sodium content and was curious what sodium levels were in one chicken burrito; and using their own website I added up the sodium levels – wow.
    I was shocked. Would rather cook at home.
    Sodium levels should be posted on the menu in large font – should not have to go to a website to calculate it.

    American Heart Association recommends max limit of 1500 mg of sodium and if I remember correctly it was very close to that number – just for lunch.

    Reply
  20. Clay Caldwell

    I have a ton of food sensitivities and Chipotle is one of the few restaurants that has food my body will tolerate. Go easy on them. I agree that they should be completely transparent on their ingredients and practices but they are way, way better than most places.

    Reply
  21. Tara

    Food Babe! I am a big fan of Chipotle having watched their documentary on Netflix. I see this article is old but I have just stumbled upon it, and as to date Chipotle does have a list of each product with ingredients posted on their website, is there something I am missing, not the full ingredients list.

    Reply
  22. Dulce

    What about this list? I just went to the Chipotle site now and it looks like they finally listed the ingredients. Food Babe, can you review please?http://www.chipotle.com/en-us/menu/ingredients_statement/ingredients_statement.aspx

    Reply

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