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.