Last updated on February 10th, 2016 at 02:36 pm
Chipotle Mexican Grill announced at its national employee meeting this week the formation of the Chipotle Local Grower Support Initiative, a new program to help smaller, local suppliers meet its heightened food safety standards.
Chipotle closed its doors at its 2,000 restaurants for four hours on Feb. 8 to hold a meeting with its employees about steps it is taking to improve food safety.
Supporting local farmers has been an important part of the company’s commitment to Food With Integrity, and Chipotle plans to commit up to $10 million to help local farms meet its food safety standards and to make more local ingredients available across the country.
“We have supported local farms around the country for a number of years because we believe it is the right thing to do,” said Steve Ells, Chipotle’s founder, co-CEO and chairman. “We recognize that it may make it difficult for some local farms to comply with our heightened standards, but we are looking to help local farmers comply with our standards and to continue our support for local farms and rural communities around the country.”
The initiative will provide the support and education necessary to meet the company’s standards and help offset the costs of enhanced testing and food safety practices for some smaller farmers. Additionally, financial assistance will be provided in the form of grants or premiums to help cover the higher costs of enhanced food safety practices. The company says it also will look to develop new partnerships and seek out farmers using greenhouses and other technologies around the country that meet Chipotle’s food safety standards.