It’s been a roller coaster ride for carnitas fans across the country. Since the beginning of 2015, Chipotle has had a rough relationship with their pork distributers. Back in January, the Mexican grill cut ties with their original supplier due to violations against the company’s “sustainability standards.” This decision left one-third of their restaurants without pork. Four months later, the carnitas situation still looked grim, and Chipotle spokesperson Chris Arnold stated, “We’re not sure when we will be fully supplied again.”


#Carnitas bowl because… #Friday

A photo posted by Chipotle (@chipotlemexicangrill) on

Now, Chipotle has figured out an unconventional solution to their pork problem: The chain signed a deal with British distributor Karro Food to supply carnitas to Chipotle stores in the United States. The company has already begun shipping pork to over 100 locations in Florida and will begin supplying the meat nationwide before the end of the year.

A Chipotle spokesperson tells CNNMoney,

“It has always been our preference to get our pork (and other meats) from domestic suppliers, but right now the supply simply isn’t available. Upwards of 95% of pork produced in this country is conventionally raised, so the available supply that meets our high standards is relatively small.”


But here’s the real kicker: Chris Arnold tells Bloomberg that Karro Food uses antibiotics on their meat “when necessary to keep an animal healthy.” Chipotle lovers and food-industry critics across the country are asking: What does “when necessary” mean, exactly?

Grub Street reports that the “urgency to remediate the problem” might have resulted from the dramatic drop in sales Chipotle experienced during the carnitas shortage.

We’re now making all of the food at our US restaurants with only non #GMO ingredients.

A photo posted by Chipotle (@chipotlemexicangrill) on

Months ago, Chipotle announced that the carnitas shortage was prolonged because there were “no quick fixes” to the problem. Ironically, Chipotle tells CNNMoney the new U.K. supplier will help “in the short term” while the company keeps looking for domestic pork suppliers that meet company standards.

[via Grub Street]