Chipotle, Now GMO-Free

Chipotle has always been known for its healthy ingredients, farming, and being overall environmentally friendly. Today, the company pushed their limits and announced that it has removed all genetically modified organism (GMO) ingredients from its foods. This makes Chipotle the first major restaurant chain to go GMO-free.

What Are GMOs Exactly?

According to the Food and Drug Administration, GMOs were introduced into our food in the 1990’s. GMOs are plants or animals that have undergone a process where scientists alter their genes with DNA from different plants, viruses, or organisms to get a desired trait such as disease resistance or pesticide tolerance. According to the Non GMO Project, more than 80 percent of the food eaten in North America contains GMOs. The most common genetically plants, according to the FDA, are corn, canola, soybean, and cotton. These foods are often used in other food products like sweeteners, canola oil, salad dressings, cereals, breads, and snack foods.

But Why Are GMOs So Bad?

The topic of GMOs has been debated for years, even the FDA hasn’t take an official stance, “While FDA regulates foods and ingredients, including foods made from genetically-engineered plants, the agency neither supports genetically-engineered plants based on their perceived benefits nor opposes them based on their perceived risks.” Both sides have valid points: Supporters say that GMOs create stronger crops and help feed the world more easily, while those against say that foods made with GMOs are inherently bad. Basically not enough research has been done to give a definitive answer on whether GMOs are good or bad.

What’s Chipotle’s Role?

Chipotle said this as the reasoning behind their GMO phase out: “There is a lot of debate about genetically modified foods,” Said Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO of Chipotle to Yahoo Health. “Though many countries have already restricted or banned the use of GMO crops, it’s clear that a lot of research is still needed before we can truly understand all of the implications of widespread GMO cultivation and consumption. While that debate continues, we decided to move to non-GMO ingredients.”

Moving Forward

Research has been conducted previously on rats, resulting in mixed conclusions. There are many organizations continuing to come to a concrete decision on GMO. Currently there are no regulations that say that GMOs have to be tested for safety. The best way to avoid GMOs is to shop and eat organically.