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Chipotle using non-GMO ingredients in U.S. restaurants


May 20, 2015
By Canadian Pizza

May 20, 2015, Denver, CO – Chipotle Mexican Grill is now using only non-GMO ingredients to make all of the food in its U.S. restaurants, the company said in a news release.

GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, are crops that have had specific changes introduced to their DNA that don’t occur naturally, using the science of genetic engineering. GMOs are common in the U.S. food system, the company said. According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, 94 per cent of corn and 93 per cent of soybeans grown in the U.S. came from GMO strains in 2014. As a result, more than 80 per cent of foods consumed contain genetically modified ingredients, by some estimates, making it very difficult for consumers to avoid GMO ingredients in restaurants or in food purchased in grocery stores.

“There is a lot of debate about genetically modified foods,” said Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO of Chipotle, in the release. “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.”

Chipotle became the first national restaurant company to voluntarily disclose GMO ingredients in its food in March 2013, and pledged at that time to move to non-GMO ingredients for all of its food. Most of the company’s use of genetically modified ingredients was tied to soybean oil, which it used to cook chips and taco shells, and in a number of recipes (such as the adobo rub it uses for grilled chicken and steak) and for cooking (both on its grills and for use in sauté pans). Corn and flour tortillas also included some GMO ingredients.

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While GMO advocates point to higher costs associated with producing non-GMO foods, Chipotle said its move to non-GMO ingredients did not result in significantly higher ingredient costs for the company, and it did not raise prices resulting from its move to non-GMO ingredients.