Chipotle Spices Up GMO Labeling

Last week there was pretty big news on the GMO (genetically modified organism) labeling front.  Mexican food giant, Chipotle, made history by becoming the first U.S. restaurant chain to label GMOs.  This came right off the coattails of a bill passed by Connecticut’s legislature that would require food manufacturers to label products that contain genetically modified ingredients.  These developments are significant wins and each will have a positive impact on our long-term health.  Furthermore, they should inspire us, as they are indicative of the power of our collective voices to make broad visibility of GMO ingredients possible.

But for now, let’s get back to the burrito…

Chipotle’s decision for transparency is reassuring that their “Food with Integrity” commitment is not bogus.  As stated on their website, they seek out sustainably raised food (without added hormones or antibiotics), support local farmers, and source organic and local food when practical.  While I am typically skeptical of such claims (as so many jump on the “natural” label bandwagon without products that support this assertion), Chipotle is showing they are walking the walk with their move to label GMOs.

If you do check out their ingredients, you will see many are GMO’d.  Shocking?  Not really, and if you had the opportunity of transparency from other restaurateurs, you would probably see the same (or maybe worse).  So why bother labeling and run the risk of frightening your customers away?

According to Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold, “It’s not a concern to us that we’re going to lose business over this… If anything, it engenders more trust when you’re more forthcoming about the food you serve. Any downside there may be … is going to be eclipsed by the upside with being transparent.”  And so far, Arnold says that the company has not noticed any change in sales due to the menu disclosure.

He also indicated that the corporation plans on reducing GMO ingredients as much as possible, but is honest about not being able to get to 100% elimination given the current domination of the U.S. food industry and the policies supporting genetically engineered products.

Despite the ingredient list being GMO heavy, it IS still possible to get yourself (and your kids) a non-GMO Chipotle meal.  After reviewing the list, here’s what I ordered for lunch yesterday (and what I will continue to order) at Chipotle to avoid GMO ingredients.  In fact this meal also eliminates what Chipotle has tagged as containing hydrogenated oils and preservatives; we’ve got you covered!  Save this image to your smartphone (and Pin It) so that you have it handy when waiting in line.  The storefronts haven’t published their ingredient statement inside retail operations, only online for now, so don’t bank on waiting until you get there to make your choices.Hip & Healthy Kids Chipotle Order c

This meal was completely delicious, satisfying and my son and I even had leftovers.  Bring the remaining dish home with you and scoop it up with Organic, Non-GMO tortilla chips…YUM!

A big thank you to Chipotle for being a trailblazer and informing consumers about what’s in their food!   Now if we can just get your restaurateur compadres to conga behind your lead, we’d all be better for it.

*Update:  Chipotle is making great strides to remove all GMO ingredients by 2014.  Since this article was published, they have already replaced GMO Soy with Non-GMO Rice Bran Oil in their Fajita Vegetables, Rice (White and Brown) as well as for use in preparation of their Chicken.  Start expanding your burrito bowl if you so desire.  More positive changes from Mexican food giant on the way!



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