Chipotle also began buying more red onions from Oregon-based River Point Farms, which said it is the country’s largest onion supplier, a source involved in the situation said.
The goal was to make it easier for Chipotle to trace the origins of the products, according to the source, who did not want to be identified. River Point declined to comment.
Chipotle’s Arnold said the chain would continue to support smaller farms, and has committed to spending $10 million to help them meet its standards. But he said the company has noted that it may be difficult for “some of our smaller suppliers to meet our heightened food safety standards.”
Big chains, including Yum Brands Inc., the parent of Taco Bell and KFC, and McDonald’s Corp., tend to work with a small number of large suppliers, which often have more resources and controls.