Citing a shortage of naturally raised beef due to last year’s drought, Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. has apparently told media sources that it may allow its restaurants to begin using beef treated with antibiotics. Although Chipotle only reached its goal to use antibiotic- and hormone-free meat a few years ago, the company reportedly said that it plans to review its “never-ever” antibiotic policy and possibly allow suppliers to sell animals that have been treated with antibiotics “when necessary.” The policy change would still bar the use of beef from animals given antibiotics to prevent disease or promote weight gain.

“Many experts, including some of our ranchers, believe that animals should be allowed to be treated if they are ill and remain in the herd,” Chipotle founder and co-CEO Steve Ells was quoted as saying. “We are certainly willing to consider this change, but we are continuing to evaluate what’s best for our customers, our suppliers and the animals.” See USA Today and Bloomberg.com, August 13, 2013.