Chipotle Becomes First Chain Restaurant to Labels GMOs

By Analiese Paik

Excerpted from Chipotle's website.

When we visited, ate at, and shared out thoughts about Chipotle last year, something made me uncomfortable enough to not put the restaurant on the “safe” list for my family. Beside the cooktop at the Fairfield location sat a plastic bottle squirt bottle with oil in it, and I suspected it was soybean oil. We know that soybean oil is pretty much all GMO. How many foods contained that oil? Was it in their dressings? I didn’t expect to ever get a real answer, but…..

Chipotle has come clean and given consumers 100% transparency by labeling GMOs in their foods. You will be shocked to learn that even their rice contains GMOs. It’s because of the soybean oil!

Using the information on their website, you can now choose Non-GMO when eating there. They are also working to eliminate GM ingredients from all their ingredients. (I do not believe that this applies to animals fed GMOs).

I’m loving that my prognostications about the food industry’s response to consumer demand for transparency have played out. (Read about that here). I said more companies like Kashi and Ben & Gerry’s would reformulate to avoid GMOs in response to consumer demand for Non-GMO products. What I didn’t expect was a major restaurant chain to voluntarily label GMOs in their foods. I guess Chipotle took a card from Whole Foods Market’s playbook.

In the end, it’s only good news for the consumer. And more demand for Non-GMO commodities – think corn, soy, canola, and cottonseed oils and other derivative food products – will lead to greater efficiencies in the marketplace and eventually bring prices down. Currently there is a significant premium on Non-GMO commodities which makes it a challenge for both farmers and food manufacturers to reformulate without raising prices.

35 thoughts on “Chipotle Becomes First Chain Restaurant to Labels GMOs”

    • James, I’m sure you’re wrong. Polls show that most Americans want GMOs labeled and Chipotle would not go through this exercise without a darn good reason.

      • Actually this depends on how the question is asked. If you ask “should they be labeled” you will get a “yes.” If you ask what info should be added to a label, only about 3% suggest GMO labels. That is why I wonder what actually will happen.

        • James, the most revered polling agencies in the US conduct these polls. I’m sure they’re not new at this and follow best practices.

        • James, I couldn’t disagree with you more. The so-called risk assessments you mention are short-term studies conducted by the manufacturers of the GM seed, not an accredited third party. And even if there were no risk to human health, people still deserve a choice. I for one still wouldn’t buy them because they are a license to spray more pesticides and have created a chemical arms race to kill the super weeds they’re spawning.

          • There are many hundreds of peer-reviewed studies showing no harm and about 1/3 of them have independent funding. Since Roundup is the most environmentally benign herbicide in use, it actually reduces the use of dangerous weed killers. Since it reduces tilling, it also reduces the carbon footprint. Finally, if there is no effect on human health, you are asking for labeling of a process rather than a crop that is somehow different and courts ave ruled against that.

          • James, I don’t know the source of your information but Roundup is not considered benign and its use has increased markedly since the advent of GM crops. GM crops that are herbicide tolerant require the use of the companion weed killer Roundup. Reduces the carbon footprint? Surely you jest. Reducing a carbon footprint involves using fewer finite and toxic resources, not more. The GMO labeling is a request for consumer transparency. How can you call this a democracy if the people of our country, who are supposed to be free, are not able to choose whether to eat GMOs? Isn’t that the real question?

        • James, It is about choice, just like 37 other countries around the world have. We don’t know what health risks GMO’s have yet but they are banned in Europe. Even China requires labeling. To me that say’s something. Watch the source you get your facts from because I’m willing to bet there is financial interest somewhere. The 1/3 you mention have no doubt been compensated in one way or another.

          • This is simply a canard. We do know that the health risks are essentially zero.GM crops have been tested far more that conventional hybrids ever are. Gms are banned in Europe, it has been discovered because the commission data given to the EU was fabricated. It is not based on science but on politics. In fact “choice” is simply another way of saying we want GMOs banned based on irrational fears.

          • By your logic, we should ban an identical product because it was made by a different process and we don’t know if it might be harmful. But all tests have shown it is not harmful and you can cite no science to the contrary. This logic could be extended to every single product in the supermarket: we might eventually find one of them to be harmful. That is not science.

    • I eat at Chipotle only and exactly because of their support of issues like this, I am so glad for this. I hate how few choices I have to eat the way I want and frequently have skipped meals or bought random produce items at a grocery store for lunch. I have friends and family who feel the same way & are so glad there is finally a nice quick way to avoid GMO lunch. The fact it taste good is just a bonus :) Thank You again Chipotle!

    • Everyone ‘should’ know that if they are eating anything with corn syrup, its a GMO product. But I’m guessing it hasn’t stopped 99% of the so-called activists in the grocery stores

  1. I think while we are fighting to get GM products labeled, it might help and be easier to get the non-GMO products to put a big, universal non-GMO label on their products!

  2. I just want to say THANK YOU for being transparent and doing the right thing! No GMO’s is the right way to go! THANKS for the honesty and integrity, it is refreshing!!!

  3. I totally and completely APPLAUD Chipotle for doing this!! Here’s to hoping many more follow suit soon!! Oh, happy day for informed consumers!!

  4. I really appreciate your suggestion that Monsanto should pay me for my work, but unfortunately I am a starving writer and not paid by any biotech company. I am, however, a trained scientist and have read many dozens of peer-reviewed scientific papers and have come to the same conclusion that every major scientific organization in the world has come to: GMO foods are nutritionally identical and completely safe. In fact, the bio tech process describes how a plant is bred, not its contents, which are the same as any equivalent non GM plant. Further, the idea that soybean oil even COULD be dangerous is ridiculous since it contains no genetic material. This entire scare is being caused by ill-informed but well meaning people with little understanding of basic science and using this misunderstanding to write reams of scary and completely inaccurate articles.

      • Science reporting is not science fact. Such articles are opinion on the original studies and don’t necessarily reflect an understanding of the studies in question or the issue in general.

        Have you also read the opinions of Ben Goldacre and others who have criticized some of the popular “anti GMO” studies for selectively reporting data to support their bias, inflicting unnecessary harm on animals, a whole host of both methodological and ethical issues which are widely considered bad form and evidence of corruption when it’s Monsanto behaving that way but suddenly overlooked when the study in question supports the bias of the reader…

  5. I felt compelled to comment…

    I just wanted to point out something that James said above, namely: “I really appreciate your suggestion that Monsanto should pay me for my work, but unfortunately I am a starving writer and not paid by any biotech company.”

    This may be going out on a limb but listen exactly to what he stated.

    It wouldn’t necessarily mean this starving writer fella James wasn’t moonlighting to put some food on the table by hawking talking points for a PR firm hired by biotech firms, or their associates, shareholders, related trade associations, parent companies, etc.

    Watch a little of “Thank You For Smoking” the film from a few years ago to really see how this is done.

    And even if that isn’t the case (which we will never know despite the fact that James’ may protesteth strongly to the implication)… James’ comments come across as slippery, full of generalities and don’t take up valid issues when presented. Namely:

    1) That patents imply distinct difference; and

    2) That studies that do indeed exist should one care to make the effort.

    The issue that I believe James and Co are banking on is that people won’t do the research themselves as it is simply more convenient to NOT believe that GMOs are potentially hazardous than investigating whether they indeed are. People who are just looking for ways to make their lives simpler, to check some of the noise and complexities.

    We are all lucky in this thread to have an “admin” who is knowledgeable enough to fend off the seemingly crafted rhetoric with solid reason, fluent enough with the strawman arguments given, to present valid counterpoints that diffuse James’ dismissive ‘tack’

    Note how whenever the defense got too solid, he went radio silent?

    Makes you wonder who he is speaking to if not to have bona fide discourse on the matter.

    As if getting in his licks is the m.o. and wham, bam, he’s sewn some uncertainty and gotten his quota.

    I don’t know “admin” nor do I know “james” and i’ve never commented on this site before. And very rarely have I ever commented like this – especially to this degree.

    I just happened across the article as I’ve been interested in and grateful for what Chipotle has been doing (wrote to tell them the same just last week, in fact, as well as making suggestions like asking them to use blue corn for the tortilla chips which are non-gmo and coconut oil instead of soya) and felt like I had to lay into a greenwashing ‘plant’ – which is frankly how it appears on this end.

  6. Oh for heavens sake. No one is paying me to point out what peer-reviewed science actually says. By contrast, it would seem that you are indulging in personal attacks instead. If you can cite actual scientific work to support your views, please do so.

    • If some of these people spent as much time researching and educating themselves as they do concocting some of the craziest conspiracy theories imaginable, just think how smarter they could become!

  7. James, please research before arguing. You make me think you are sound asleep!!! If you think for one second that roundup ready seed is safe, I just feel sorry for you!!! That’s like saying small amounts of crack cocain won’t do a bit of damage to your brain!!!

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