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Monday, Feb. 11, 2008

Chipotle's definition of "Integrity"

Moira Birss

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Wednesday's (2-6-08) review of Chipotle ("Food With Integrity") lauded Chipotle restaurants for providing delicious, healthy and good-for-the- environment food as part of the chain's "Food with Integrity" commitment ­ a very admirable position for a chain restaurant to take.This commitment, however, leaves out an essential ingredient:

justice.

Chipotle's definition of "Integrity" doesn¹t seem to include the notion of human rights ­ or at least not the right to a fair wage, the right to overtime pay, the right to organize, or the right to basic benefits like health insurance, sick leave, paid vacation or pension.

Tomato pickers in Florida, for example, earn about 45 cents for every 32-lb bucket of tomatoes they pick ­ a rate hasn¹t changed in nearly 30 years.On average, farmworkers in this country earn $7,500 - $10,000 per year.Many farmworkers toil under conditions that amount to modern-day slavery: there have been five federal criminal prosecutions by the Department of Justice and the FBI for modern-day slavery in Florida fields in the past seven years, involving over a thousand farmworkers.

While it is wonderful that Chipotle provides organic and healthy food, and other restaurants should do the same, the definition of integrity must also include the full respect of human rights for the farmworkers who cultivate and harvest the food.


thank you,

Moira Birss

Just Harvest From Field to Fork

www.justharvestfieldtofork.org