Chipotle Facing “300-Calorie” Burrito Lawsuit
Three customers in Los Angeles have filed a class-action lawsuit against Chipotle Mexican Grill claiming that the popular fast food company misrepresented the calorie count on its chorizo burrito.
The lawsuit alleges that the three men bought Chipotle’s chorizo burrito because the advertisement on a sign indicated the item was only 300 calories.
It wasn’t until after eating it that plaintiff David Desmond “felt excessively full and realized that the burrito couldn’t have been just 300 calories.” Plaintiffs Edward Gurevich and Young Hoon Kim underwent similar realizations after consuming the item.
Chipotle advertises itself as a company that sells “Food With Integrity” by using organic ingredients and responsibly raised livestock. The lawsuit argues that this only exacerbates the problem of deceptive marketing claims on its signage.
“Worse still, by providing false nutritional information for their menu items, consumers are lulled into a false belief that the items they are eating are healthier than they really are, and thereby encouraging repeat patronage by consumers who are concerned about the nutritional values of the food they eat,” says the lawsuit.
The burrito contains grilled chicken, pork sausage, rice, beans, and cheese rolled inside a tortilla. According to Chipotle’s online nutrition calculator, the burrito contains closer to 1,050 calories.
Several customers not participating in the suit also noticed the discrepancy in Chipotle’s signage and took to social media for answers.
The company’s official account responded on Twitter that the 300 calories were only for a serving of chorizo.
This isn’t the first time Chipotle has faced legal action. After outbreaks of E. coli, norovirus, and salmonella sickened more than 500 people in 2015, the fast food company was hit with multiple lawsuits.
According to Reuters, Chipotle agreed to financial settlements with more than 100 customers in September. Chipotle still faces a civil lawsuit from investors over failing to disclose flawed quality controls and a criminal investigation into its food safety.
The current suit for unfair business practices and misrepresentation covers all people who bought food at Chipotle for four years leading up to the complaint—even though the burrito in question was only introduced in October.
While the company has not officially sent out a statement on the lawsuit pertaining to misleading advertising materials, a spokesman has sent a standard response to numerous media organizations, including Fortune.
“As a matter of policy, we don’t discuss details surrounding pending legal action,” wrote Chris Arnold, communications director at Chipotle. “I will note, however, that a lawsuit is nothing more than allegations and is proof of nothing. Generally speaking, we always work hard to maintain transparency around what is in our food, including the nutritional content, which is provided on an ingredient-by-ingredient basis.”