Chipotle becomes first GMO-free national fast food chain
Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. said that its food is now free from genetically modified organisms (GMO). For more than two years, the major restaurant chain, which has 1,831 restaurants, has been working to eliminate ingredients made with GMOs.
These include corn, soybeans and other crops whose DNA is altered to make them pest-resistant. The company had said it had earlier expected that this would happen by the end of 2014. However, the transition took a little longer.
Chipotle has become the first restaurant to remove GMO from its foods amid growing US consumer questions about the agricultural technology.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a number of genetically modified crops, which are considered to be safe by many science groups.
However, critics claim that they cause a variety of environmental ills and might prove harmful for human health. The skepticism of GMOs in recent years has led consumers to seek for simpler, more natural ingredients.
In 2012, Chipotle started to inform its consumers that which of its menu items contained GMOs. The company's pork and chicken still come from animals that eat GMO feed. The beef comes from pasture-raised cattle.
Chipotle's founder and co-Chief Executive Steve Ells said that the company is making the move to avoid GMOs until the science around the technology is more definitive.
This involves substituting non-GMO sunflower oil for genetically modified soybean oil it had been using, and sourcing non-GMO tortillas.
CNNMoney reported that the company's rice, meat marinades, chips, salsa, and tortillas will not be made with GMOs and non-GMO canola oil will also be used. During an interview with the financial news outlet, Ells said that farmers are not currently ordered to use non-GMO feed.