Fast Food

Chipotle and Panda Express: Headliners in a Meat Controversy

Chipotle Mexican Grill and Panda Express, among other fast-food service chains are feeling pressure from consumers and lawsuits over the issue of disclosing the presence of meat in dishes that seemingly look vegetarian or vegan such as beans, rice, and vegetables.

The major controversy ensued when Maxim senior editor Seth Porges learned that Chipotle cooks its pinto beans with a small amount of bacon, which was not outwardly indicated on the menu board although it is revealed on the restaurant’s website. This little detail is actually a problem for more than just vegetarians and vegans such as Porges, who must adhere to strict religious and cultural dietary practices and refrain from eating pork.

Another, customer who has already filed a lawsuit against Chipotle for the same reason is also suing Panda Express for its alleged use of meat-based flavorings in rice. Panda Express denies this allegation, however due to these incidences, Chipotle will be revamping its menu boards soon and indicate that the pinto beans are “flavored with bacon.”

Souplantation/ Sweet Tomatoes, is an example of a restaurant chain that does do an excellent job at specifically indicating which items are vegetarian or vegan from those that are not. Hopefully this issue will increase the number of chains and restaurants to disclose more information from calories to ingredients in the future to educate consumers as well as help them find security in knowing exactly what they’re eating.


By Lucia Phan

Lucia Phan has a Bachelors Degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Food & City Culture and Environmental Economics. She is the founder of Banana Slug Edibles, where she bakes specialty cakes and cupcakes for patients in Orange County & Los Angeles. In her free time she likes to collect recipes and will forever be searching for the best chocolate chip cookie recipe known to man.

7 replies on “Chipotle and Panda Express: Headliners in a Meat Controversy”

wow…are people really that stuck up that they will sue over eating something flavored with bacon? Get a life. I understand (well maybe) the religious concerns but if you are vegetarian or vegan you shouldn’t expect the rest of the world to tip toe around what you want to eat. Don’t eat meat? Great…fine with me and more for me, but don’t go around making every restaurant gunshy about what they can serve for fear of being sued because there was some pork in the pot

What the hell is wrong with you? Where does it say
anything about the issue being about restaurants being gunshy? It’s
about revealing what you’re ACTUALLY eating, instead of what you’re being LIED about. Fuck chipotle and panda express, this news article is just another solid
reminder not to trust corporations with feeding people.

Leave a Reply