Dried and cracked earth is visible in an irrigation channel on Feb. 25, 2014 in Firebaugh, Calif.
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Like guac on your burrito? Better fix climate change

Updated

Updated 12:45 p.m.

Chipotle guacamole could be the next victim of climate change, according to the Mexican restaurant chain.

The fast-food restaurant chain warned investors that guacamole and some salsas may get the ax from their menu if global warming continues to limit the availability of fresh foods like avocados.

Extreme weather patterns “associated with global climate change” could limit availability and drive up the cost of ingredients, and Chipotle doesn’t want to pay.

Chipotle’s guacamole operation is huge: the chain uses 97,000 pounds of avocado a day – 70 avocados go into each batch of the good stuff – according to the restaurant.

A man walks into a Chipotle restaurant in Washington DC on Jan. 31, 2014.
A man walks into a Chipotle restaurant in Washington DC on Jan. 31, 2014.
Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty
“In the event of cost increases with respect to one or more of our raw ingredients we may choose to temporarily suspend serving menu items, such as guacamole or one or more of our salsas, rather than paying the increased cost for the ingredients,” an investor report obtained by Think Progress stated.

Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold reached out to msnbc.com on Wednesday to downplay the report.

“The sky is not falling. This is routine and required financial disclosure. We’ve seen similar conditions in the past – and incurred higher prices because of it – but have never stopped serving our guacamole,” he wrote in an email. “It’s ultimately much ado about nothing.”

But the California avocado industry is changing due to climate change. The devastating drought has produced the tiniest crop of egg-sized avocados most growers have ever seen, though on the bright side the crop did produce more of the tinier fruit, according to NPR. Other reports see rising prices for the produce.

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Chipotle attempts to use only organic and sustainably farmed ingredients grown within 350 miles of each restaurant, so it’s particularly susceptible to these changes. Sustainable meat markets “are generally smaller and more concentrated than the markets for commodity food products,” the report notes.

The chain’s California locations—which makes up 18% of the chain’s locations— may suffer the most if the store does start putting fresh foods on hiatus. California’s drought is the worst in more than a hundred years and it doesn’t show any signs of letting up.

Global Warming

Like guac on your burrito? Better fix climate change

Updated