Mmmm … burritos

Chipotle Mexican Grill announced last week that it is the first national restaurant company to serve exclusively “naturally raised” chicken, but is the company’s campaign as great as it’s cracked up to be?

According to Steve Ells, the restaurant’s founder and CEO, the move is part of the company’s “Food With Integrity” mission, which he says is raising the bar for the fast-food industry. All of the restaurant’s meat comes from animals that are fed a pure vegetarian diet, and never given antibiotics or growth hormones, says a recent press release from the company. It’s the humanely raised claim that sends up red flags.

According to Chipotle’s Web site, the pigs raised for the eatery have access to “open pasture or deeply bedded pens,” while the chickens “have more room to move about than in conventional operations.” How much room, like an inch?

To its credit, late last year the chain began serving dairy products that are free of recombinant bovine growth hormone. In addition, 30 percent of the beans served at Chipotle this year will come from organic farms.