Hear that? It’s the sound of Chipotle fans stampeding towards the closest restaurant.
The chain announced today that “The Great Carnitas Shortage of 2015“ is nearing its end. In January, after Chipotle determined that its leading pork supplier was violating its “Responsibly Raised” standards, it stopped buying the company’s products, leaving a third of its restaurants unable to serve its signature carnitas. Chipotle found a new supplier in April but the pork is only now becoming available.
The company posted on its website that it is now sourcing pork from Karro Farms in the United Kingdom. (It did not name the original supplier that it said failed to meet its standards.) The company said it had to look abroad because “so little pork is raised outside of the conventional system in the United States.”
The posting noted one way in which the newly sourced pork does not meet the company’s standards. Chipotle has a no-antibiotics-ever rule, but it is making an exception for Karro Farms, which follows European standards allowing antibiotics to be used to treat sick animals, under the supervision of a veterinarian. In conventional hog farming in the US, antibiotics are used both to prevent disease and to promote growth.
It is not the first time Chipotle has brought in meat from afar: In May 2014, it began sourcing grass-fed beef from Australia. CEO Steve Ells said the company had been unable to find sufficient beef supplies in the US that met its standards.
To find out if carnitas are available near you, check out the company’s map tracking its availability.