Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Hill of beans: failure to disclose meat content draws lawsuit

From DuetsBlog, this story about a lawsuit against Chipotle for failing to disclose that the pinto beans are made with bacon. I'm highly sympathetic for a variety of reasons: I was a victim of McDonald's claim that it had switched to vegetable oil for frying its fries, and consumed them some number of times before it was revealed that the fries nonetheless had meat added as a "flavoring." As a vegetarian by choice and not by religious obligation, I didn't need a purification ceremony, but I was definitely deceived.

It can be hard to tell when to expect meat. I wouldn't even ask about guacamole, for example; nondisclosure of meat in guacamole would seem obviously deceptive to me. As a rule, I try to ask about whether beans are vegetarian, but (1) I consider that most important at non-chain restaurants, since I expect chains to be more aware of and able to inform vegetarians, whether through asterisks or little green leaves or, heck, the labels "vegetarian" and/or "non-vegetarian"/"contains meat," and (2) especially with that background, no one wants to hold up the line when there are 40 people behind you, and often when you ask and the beans are vegetarian you get some eye-rolling (they're beans, duh), which is never fun.

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