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Chipotle restaurant is good for gluten-free and food allergies

Posted on January 10th, 2010 by Alison Read 13 Comments - Add Your Own »

I was shopping recently with my 3 year old in a mall when lunchtime rolled around. Looking for a quick and tasty lunch when you must eat gluten-free can be challenging at best. And if you’ve got small children you know that you don’t let them go hungry for too long or you’re really asking for it!

chipotleWe stepped into a new-to-my-area Mexican food place called Chipotle. I started with my usual questions about tortillas and fryers and marinades, blah blah blah (it’s get so tiring sometimes — I wish I could just order like un-allergic people), when to my surprise, the worker handed me an allergen card for all the items on the menu!

The allergen card lists which items contain Eggs, Fish, Gluten, Milk, Peanuts, Shellfish, Soy, Tree Nuts and Wheat. It is great that a restaurant chain has the awareness to do this, but the really great news is that the only thing on the menu that contains gluten is the flour tortilla, which is only used for burritos and soft tacos. Fryers are used only for corn tortilla chips and the deliciously crispy corn taco shells. Or you can skip the tortillas all together and order a rice bowl or have them make you a salad. Everything is yummy!

For those with kids, you can order just 1 taco! You choose what you want them to put on it as you go down the line. Also, quesadillas are not on the menu but can be made by request.

For those with food allergies, there is no eggs, fish, shellfish, peanuts or tree nuts used at all. If you can’t have soybean oil you are out of luck, as this is the oil that is used for everything, including in the fryer (I wished they used another kind of oil).

Be aware that there is a note/disclaimer on the allergen card that reads: “Variations may occur due to differences in suppliers, ingredient substitutions, recipe revisions, and/or food preparation at the restaurant. *Soybean oil, the only soy-based ingredient that we use, is not indicated as an allergen. If you have any concerns pertaining to consumption of soybean oil, please consult your doctor. For general information on food allergens, visit the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network Web site at http://www.foodallergy.org.”

Reading about the company on their website, I have become impressed with their awareness and commitment to serving natural and organic food, and their mission of “Food With Integrity.” When someone told me that they were owned by McDonald’s, I just couldn’t believe it (food with integrity??) and checked up on that fact myself. Whew. They are not owned by McDonald’s. Chipotle became a subsidiary of McDonald’s in 1999, but Mcdonald’s divested completely from Chipotle and no longer has anything to do with it.

So, I am officially a Chipotle Fan! I find myself going back there again and again for a quick, easy, inexpensive, tasty, kid-friendly, stress-free and gluten-free meal.

NOTE: For those who are extremely sensitive to gluten, be aware that because they do use flour tortillas to make burritos, there is a chance of cross-contamination from the touching of the tortilla with hands and utensils (thanks to my readers for reminding me of this).

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Comments

  1. I love Chipotle, but don’t go as often as I’d like. I haven’t tried taking the kids there. I thought they might complain about too much spice. They will eat tacos at home, so maybe I’ll try it on them next time. Thanks.

  2. Heather,
    They also have a Spicy Chart that was kid-tested. Ask for it. The carnitas (pork) is the least spicy meat — not spicy at all. My 3 year old gets just carnitas and pinto beans!

  3. There are tons of Chipotle restaurants around where I live and that is our go to, I don’t want to cook, place to grab a meal. I always ask them to change their gloves before they grab my bowl or corn taco. Otherwise I would get sick from them touching the flour tortillas. I don’t get the lettuce since they grab that with their hands and then roll up the flour tortillas. I’m very sensitive. But I’ve not had a problem with anything else. I like their carnitas (pork)and they will give me the peppers and onions and beans in my tacos. These stores are based off of the taquerias in San Francisco’s Mission District. Guess that’s why you got them last. :-)

  4. They are always so accommodating. The manager always makes my meal with all new utensils. Love them!

  5. If you are highly sensitive as I, you will have problems with the touching of the spoon to the wheat tortilla then dipping the spoon back to the beans, etc. I had a 50-50 chance of being sick every time I went. I eventually gave up. But this was a while ago so possibly they are a bit more savvy now.

  6. I love Chipotle and never had a problem with their food. I always ask for new gloves due to “allergies”. I go about once a week, and there’s a couple of gals there that change their gloves as soon as they see me(even after I didnt go in for a couple of months. I even had one guy use only 1 hand to touch all the utensils so the other would still be “clean” when got to lettuce and cheese then grabbed the back of the pan so less a chance of cross contamination.

  7. I recently wrote to Chipotle about GF menu and here is the reply I received…I love that they are willing to switch out their gloves just in case:
    ——————————–
    Michelle,

    Thank you for writing us, and we have this information on our FAQ on our website at http://www.chipotle.com/faq! But here it is again: Most people wanting to avoid gluten can eat anything we serve except for our wheat burrito tortillas, our soft wheat taco tortillas, and possibly our hot red tomatillo salsa (there is a small amount of distilled vinegar in it which some gluten-oriented websites still say might be problematic, although most don’t).

    Everything else is fine to eat for most people wanting to avoid gluten, including our crispy corn tacos, our corn chips, and our burrito bowls (no tortilla). However, you should know that it’s possible our corn may have a small amount of gluten from potentially co-mingling with gluten-containing grains in the field.

    If you are highly sensitive and would like us to change our gloves, we would be happy to do that at your request. Additionally, because our folks work with wheat tortillas all day long, there may be the possibility of cross-contact in our restaurants. We encourage you to carefully consider your dining choices.

    I hope this helps!

    Sincerely,

    Joe

    Joe Stupp | Customer Service Manager

    Chipotle Mexican Grill

  8. hah organic healty waht is organic or healthy at chipotle.
    ok so just there black bean is 30% or s organic but that all goes away when everything in store uses soy oil.
    soy oil is GMO. GMO will never leave the body and will lead to cancer, also they use idodized salt thats not healty, why dont they spen the extra nickle and use sea salt and spend the extra $5 per week and use non-gmo oil. by the way stop trying to feel good about the fake food with intergrity what is so intergrity about serving a grass feed cow or free range chicken it was still salughtered for your desire and pleasure….

  9. Completely agree with mommy of 3!!!! My sister, my mom and I are all vegan and we eat there about once every week or two… Until reading this! I will not eat there anymore ! I will tell everyone I know that is so disgusting that they don’t even post that there’s GMO oil in the food… sick sick sick.

  10. It really is too bad that they use soybean oil when they seem so conscientious about their other ingredients. Maybe we should start an email campaign!

  11. I enjoy chipotle very much, but it appears everytime I eat there I get serious skin issues. My eyes and face get very red and thenext day is very scaly. I was wondering if the lime they put in the rice has sulfites, metabisulfites or any kind of sulfite? This is also a huge allergen to people and I know lime and lemon juices are prone to have this preservative in it. I’d love to know what you know about this. Thank you, Lori

  12. Lori,
    Do you have a problem with soybean oil?

  13. I just recently went to Chipotle and and a horrible food reaction. As soon as I started eating it, I knew there was large amounts of soy somewhere. My tongue became swollen, very red, my skin became irritated. They really need to make sure it’s posted that they use soy so heavily.

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