If you haven’t yet heard, here is some exciting news—and just in time for lunch. Chipotle announced that it is removing all of the genetically engineered ingredients from its menu, now serving only non GMO foods. In the New York Times, Steve Ells, founder and co-chief executive of Chipotle, put it quite nicely, “just because food is served fast doesn't mean it has to be made with cheap raw ingredients, highly processed with preservatives, and filler and stabilizers and artificial colors and flavors.” Since the company uses mainly whole ingredients that do not have a GE variety, the two main ingredients it has to remove are corn and soy. Mainly, corn and soy were both found in Chipotle tortillas, corn (obviously) and hidden soy ingredients in the shortening inside the flour tortillas. Chipotle also had to deal with the challenge of using a new type of oil, which can affect the flavor cooked ingredients like rice and fajita veggies.
Why did they go through all the trouble of making this transition?
1) Scientists are still studying the long-term implications of GMOs
2) The cultivation of GMOs can damage the environment
3) Chipotle should be a place where people can eat food made without GMO ingredients
Short, sweet, and straight to the point. GMOs simply don’t fit within Chipotle’s corporate vision. And we think that is great. Chipotle is a company that has developed a set of ideals and is doing what it can to make sure its practices are in line with those ideals.
GMO Inside could not agree more with Chipotle’s reasoning for making this transition. It is clear that there is no consensus within the scientific community of the safety of GMOs, and we are only now starting to even scratch the surface of what the long-term health implications are. The World Health Organizations classification of Glyphosate as a probable carcinogen, which opens up a whole new can of worms and is broadening the discussion on whether or not Monsanto’s products are really as safe as the company lead on.
GMOs have been in cultivation for the last 20 years and it is clear that they are not all that they are cracked up to be, and the environment is paying the cost. Herbicide resistant super weeds are becoming a major issue as biotech companies try to tackle these with much stronger and more dangerous herbicides. The overuse of these herbicides and the monocrop farming methods associate with GMOs has led to deterioration of our soil. Loss of soil health has major implications for crop nutrition (and therefore human nutrition), food security, as well as the soils ability to act as a carbon sinkk, and relieve some of the pressures of climate change. All in all, GMOs are causing harm to our environment.
People want food that is free of GE ingredients. And they should have opportunities to eat out and have the option not to eat GMOs. Chipotle is a business and it already has a strong customer base who for years have been demanding a better food system and support Chipotle’s efforts to be a part of creating one. Chipotle is simply meeting the demand of its customer base. It is leading the way and giving consumers what they have been demanding since CA Prop 37 failed, a more transparent and sustainable food system
Chipotle’s announcement that it is removing genetically engineered ingredients is an important step in building a better food system. Consumers are increasingly concerned about the impacts of GMOs on the environment and human health. Chipotle has shown that it is possible for a large “fast food” chain adopt a more sustainable food supply. It is time that all food companies follow suit and move beyond genetically engineered ingredients and towards a more sustainable food system that benefits people and the planet.
To learn more about Chipotle’s transition away from GE ingredients and how this effects its ingredients check out the company’s FAQ page here.