Another quick-serve food company has come out against gestation-sow stalls. On Monday, Fresh Enterprises, LLC, which owns Baja Fresh, La Salsa Mexican Grill and Canyon’s Burger restaurants, announced that it “supports industry efforts to move away from gestation crates.”
Fresh Enterprises released a joint statement with the Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), saying it is committed to purchasing pork only from suppliers “with documented plans to end their use of gestation crates.” Pork Network reached out to the company to determine its timeline, but did not get a response.
“We believe moving to group housing systems for sows is more humane and sustainable than crate confinement,” Chuck Rink, Fresh Enterprises’ president and chief executive officer, said in the news release. “Shifting away from gestation-crate pork is in line with the commitment of Baja Fresh, La Salsa Mexican Grill and Canyon’s Burgers to provide the highest quality, freshest food.”
The three restaurant chains in Fresh Enterprises’ stable have a combined 279 locations in about 20 states, as well as Dubai and Singapore. Based in Cypress, Calif., the company emphasizes “freshness and quality.” Baja Fresh Mexican Grill, the most well known of the restaurants, carries the tagline “Eat well, live fresh.” It offers made-to-order menu options that include meat choices of pork carnitas as well as chicken, steak and seafood.
Rink moved into the chief executive officer post this past April, committing to improve the Baja Fresh brand by focusing on the customer experience and by improving the design and execution of the products served.
In the joint release, Paul Shapiro, HSUS vice president of farm animal protection, said, “Sound science and consumer sentiment support a move away from immobilizing pigs in crates so small they can't even turn around.We recognize Baja Fresh, La Salsa Mexican Grill, and Canyon’s Burgers for their forward-thinking announcement, and hope other restaurant companies will follow their example.”