Sustainable meat firm shuts down restaurants, retail operations after controversy

Sustainable meat firm shuts down restaurants, retail operations after controversy
© Tim Boyle/Newsmakers

California-based sustainable meat firm Belcampo Meat Company has shut down its restaurants and retail operations after controversy surrounding the sourcing of its meat products.

“It is with a mixture of sadness and pride that Belcampo is ending our branded e-commerce, retail, and restaurant operations,” reads the front page of the company’s website. “We want to thank you for supporting our company. You inspired us to create products that were delicious and reflected a care for our global environment. We are grateful that you joined us on this journey."

Belcampo came under fire in May after a former employee of the Santa Monica location posted a video to Instagram alleging that the company sold meat from other farms but labeled them as sourced from its own farm, according to the Los Angeles Times.   

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The employee further alleged that the staff had been encouraged to hide the labels of other farms to pass off the meat as being from Belcampo, the newspaper reported.

In a response later posted to its website, the company said that externally sourced meat represented less than 6 percent of the total value of all meats produced from the beginning of 2020 through May 2021. The company added that it stopped sourcing meat from outside of its approved supply network and is issuing refunds to those who were affected by external sourcing.

News of the closure was first reported by Eater, which reported on Monday that Belcampo’s flagship location in Santa Monica had been closed. The news outlet also reported that the company told employees via text that their jobs had been terminated.

In a statement to Eater, Belcampo CEO Garry Embleton said the company is exploring “a range of options to provide consumers with non-branded products through new distribution channels.” 

“The company’s supply chain, farm and processing facility are both best in class and we hope that there are opportunities to collaborate with companies eager to provide consumers with meat products that meet those high standards,” Embleton said.

The Hill has reached out to Belcampo for further comment.