Chipotle Goes GM-Free Today

First major fast-food chain in US to stop serving genetically altered fare
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2015 7:30 AM CDT
Chipotle Goes GM-Free Today
This Jan. 28, 2014, file photo shows the door at a Chipotle Mexican Grill in Robinson Township, Pa.   (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

If you're looking to scarf down a GMO burrito anytime soon, you won't be able to get it from Chipotle. As of today, customers won't find any genetically modified organisms lurking on the fast-food Mexican chain's menu, after it spent two years working to decimate GMOs from the food served in its 1,800-plus restaurants, the Wall Street Journal reports. Critics of genetically modified ingredients are wary of pesticide levels in GMO crops, while supporters rebut that there's nothing to be concerned about—but Chipotle isn't taking any chances. "Chipotle is really showing that there's a better way to do fast food," co-CEO Steve Ells tells CNNMoney. "They say these ingredients are safe, but I think we all know we'd rather have food that doesn't contain them."

The New York Times notes it can be difficult to eliminate GMOs from an eatery's menu—they exist in everything from soy oils to sugar and cornstarch. And the paper points out other obstacles, such as lack of certain replacement oils (a sunflower farmer willing to produce oil for Chipotle can't create enough for the entire menu) and not being able to use lard for tortillas due to vegan customers. But the Times adds that because Chipotle's entire menu is made up of just 68 ingredients, most of which aren't affected by GMOs, the transition may be easier. The company is now using sunflower oil to fry chips and tortillas, and a non-GMO bran oil for rice and fajita veggies; tortillas are made with a higher-priced non-GMO canola oil. The one GMO-related item that won't change: The chain's pork and chicken will still come (for now) from animals that eat GMO feed, per CNNMoney. (McDonald's turned down an FDA-approved GMO potato last year.)

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