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Chipotle!

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Hello everyone. Recently I e-mailed Chipotle concerning their use of soy in cooking, feeling uncomfortable with it despite the fact that the restaurant as a whole always seemed like the best option if I were to eat out. Below is what they e-mailed me back, and I feel it may be useful to some of you who eat there as I do. I've been out of the whole acne loop for a while and haven't been doing much research. So - anyone have any opinions or comments on this?

Logan,

Thanks for taking the time to write to us. We appreciate your concerns with regards to soy and your attempts to avoid this ingredient due to your diet and health concerns. However, I'd like to clarify that the only soy we use in our restaurants is used in the form of soybean oil. We have found that many times when people are allergic or intolerant to soy, it seems that they are typically allergic to the soy proteins. During the refining process, these proteins are typically removed. Studies have shown that this refined oil does not demonstrate a hazard to allergic individuals. Therefore, we have found that most people who are allergic or sensitive to soy are not generally sensitive to our soybean oil. On the other hand, raw, unfiltered, or cold-pressed soybean oil contains traces of soybean protein and is subject to allergen labeling.

That being said, you may also be interested to know that we have actually spent some time exploring alternative oils. Some people have suggested that we could use olive oil instead. We have tried that and run into a few problems. Olive oil has substantially changed the taste of our food which is something we'd like to avoid. It has a very strong flavor to it which may not appeal to everyone's tastes. Additionally, it has a relatively low smoke point which can be problematic for pan-searing and high-heat stir frys, much like we prepare our fajita vegetables. Palm oil is another one we have thought of but it is not very environmentally friendly. Canola oil is problematic in that it has issues with GMO's and association with Big Ag (Monsanto, etc.) Given our size, one of the challenges we have is simply obtaining enough supply. We are considering coconut oil and have tried that in a few of our restaurants. However, you may also be interested to know that we are exploring sunflower oil and, we are currently testing it in a few select locations with the hope that this option may indeed work out for us. And, in the case that this is not the solution we hoped, I'm sure we will continue to look into other oil alternatives as well.

Unfortunately, our food system is not perfect and neither are we. We wish we were, but we are the only restaurant chain committed to improving the ways in which we source our foods. There are many things we feel need to be changed with our current food system. As a result, we will always work to improve the way we source our foods and certainly our oil is something we'll continue to look into.

Again, I’m sorry we aren’t there yet, but I hope you’ll have patience with us in the meantime.

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Wow, I respect Chipotle a lot more now. I had this exact same concern. Problem with soybean oil is that it's still full of poly unsaturated fats, which oxidize easily, and there are way more omega 6 fats relative to the amount of omega 3s. Still though, when eating out is the best option at a certain time, I go to chipotle, and it doesn't seem to affect me too bad, despite the soybean oil. That's the only part I find slightly problematic. Still, they seem to be the best in regards to fast food.

Thank you for sending that email and posting the reply!

Edited by Tunnelvisionary

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It's nice to see that a company actually takes the time to send a personal, and informative reply.

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Yes. they seem to honestly do the best they can with our horrible food industry. And as they try to source things more or less regionally, their best is better in some parts of the country than others.

That was a very good letter.

Edited by alternativista

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I was shocked myself when I got such a detailed reply like that. Granted their food is not perfect, I would not expect it to be because they are still a business that needs to run a profit. It's just nice to know that at least they are trying, rather than simply saying "this tastes the best" or "this is the cheapest" without any concern for their consumers.

+1 Chipotle.

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That's pretty rad. I've always liked Chipotle and now I like them even more.

Maybe they'll start using coconut oil... how awesome would that be!

That would be too awesome. Hey I'm at least glad they now have brown rice as an option.

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However, I'd like to clarify that the only soy we use in our restaurants is used in the form of soybean oil. We have found that many times when people are allergic or intolerant to soy, it seems that they are typically allergic to the soy proteins. During the refining process, these proteins are typically removed. Studies have shown that this refined oil does not demonstrate a hazard to allergic individuals.

Uh, that is the biggest load of bullshit I've ever heard in my life. Allergic individuals absolutely cannot have soy oil.

However, you may also be interested to know that we are exploring sunflower oil and, we are currently testing it in a few select locations with the hope that this option may indeed work out for us. And, in the case that this is not the solution we hoped, I'm sure we will continue to look into other oil alternatives as well.

I'd still never eat there but it's cool to hear places are looking into stuff like this.

Edited by dejaclairevoyant

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However, I'd like to clarify that the only soy we use in our restaurants is used in the form of soybean oil. We have found that many times when people are allergic or intolerant to soy, it seems that they are typically allergic to the soy proteins. During the refining process, these proteins are typically removed. Studies have shown that this refined oil does not demonstrate a hazard to allergic individuals.

Uh, that is the biggest load of bullshit I've ever heard in my life. Allergic individuals absolutely cannot have soy oil.

However, you may also be interested to know that we are exploring sunflower oil and, we are currently testing it in a few select locations with the hope that this option may indeed work out for us. And, in the case that this is not the solution we hoped, I'm sure we will continue to look into other oil alternatives as well.

I'd still never eat there but it's cool to hear places are looking into stuff like this.

Seems to me like you can eat it and be just fine. Although I'm sure there will be adverse effects just from the oil being bad itself, I don't think most people with a soy allergy will find themselves having an "attack" if they consume soybean oil. Which is exactly what their e-mail states.

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