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Texas Official Irked After Chipotle Goes Aussie

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(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

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AUSTIN (CBSDFW.COM/AP) — The Texas agriculture commissioner has a beef with Chipotle Mexican Grill and wants to talk with its founder after the company decided to import grass-fed beef from Australia.

Commissioner Todd Staples in a letter Monday says it’s “misguided” and “irresponsible” for Chipotle founder Steve Ells to believe that Australian meat is raised more responsibly than cattle in Texas, the nation’s leading producer, or other states.

“Texas is home to the nation’s largest cattle herd and nearly 249,000 farms and ranches that cover an astounding 130.2 million acres. We have a wide variety of producers and processors. It seems foolish to discount these immense, local resources when making decisions about where to source your beef.”

Ells last month defended the move by writing for the Huffington Post that Chipotle was having difficulty getting beef it prefers from U.S. producers because the lingering drought is leading to the smallest herds in decades.

Chipotle did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Staples’ letter.

Staples says he wants Ells to meet with him and Texas beef industry leaders.

The department is also making a strong push on Monday to raise awareness for the company’s decision to import meat.

(©2014 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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