If you think a Chipotle burrito consisting of tortilla, white rice, cheese, tomato salsa, black beans and chorizo can’t possibly add up to 300 calories, you’re not wrong.
Three Los Angeles customers are filing a class-action lawsuit against Chipotle, claiming the restaurant misrepresented the calorie count of its new chorizo burrito, which actually adds up to about 1,050 calories, based on Chipotle’s online nutrition calculator.
One of the customers said he was misled by the 300 calorie sign, and “felt excessively full” after consuming the burrito.
Chipotle apologized to a different customer via tweet for the confusing sign, saying “…we’ll make things more clear next time. The 300 calories is for the chorizo.” They've since updated the sign.
Because plaintiffs say that this represents Chipotle’s larger trend of misleading nutritional information, the lawsuit would cover everyone who bought Chipotle for four years leading up to the complaint, even though the chorizo option has only been around since October.
The plaintiffs argue that customers are entitled to accurate information regarding the nutritional value of food, but some say that one misleading sign doesn’t make for fraud and that consumers should rely on their own common sense.
How would this settlement work, if the plaintiffs are successful? Could this lawsuit be a foot in the door for similar calorie count disputes? Do you think the lawsuit is valid or unreasonable?
Danny Abir, Managing Partner of the plaintiffs’ firm in the Chipotle lawsuit, Abir Cohen Treyzon Salo LLP based in Century City
Jeff Stier, an attorney focused on public health issues for the National Center for Public Policy Research - a think tank focused on the free market