Chipotle Mexican Grill was the first major fast food chain to point out which food items on its menu contained Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) back in 2013.
This week Chipotle announced that all the cooked food it serves at its 1,800+ restaurants is GMO-free.
However, the company also stated that some soft drinks sold at Chipotle may still contain sweeteners made from genetically-engineered corn. Also noteworthy is some of the meat Chipotle serves may come from animals fed GMO-enhanced grains – but on the plus side, most of the restaurants now serve 100% grass-fed beef.
Chipotle says it used to cook with soy oil and canola oil – both made from GMO crops – but today Chipotle uses only GMO-free sunflower oil and rice bran oil in its kitchens.
Opinions vary on whether consuming GMO products are harmful or much ado about nothing. The Food and Drug Administration has officially labeled a number of genetically modified crops as safe for human consumption, while opponents say GMOs cause problems for the environment and may be hazardous to human health.
According to Chipotle, more than 80% of all processed foods in the US include some genetically modified ingredients, especially products derived from corn or soy. The biggest offenders include: soft drinks, fast food, cereals, breads and sandwich meats, packaged foods and snack foods.
Chipotle says it seeks out the highest-quality food sources, eliminating many large-scale industrial farms from its supply chain. The company prefers sourcing its meat and produce from smaller farmers who share the company’s values for humanely-raised animals and GMO-free crops.
Consumers who care about the quality of their fast food have made Chipotle the fastest growing fast food restaurant chain in the US over the last 10 years. But the company’s quality policy may now be hindering its growth – many of its restaurants have temporarily stopped serving carnitas (made from pork) due to a major supplier’s failure to meet the company’s high quality standards.
Order the salad instead of a burrito, choose your favorite meat, add on the sautéed veggies, and pile on the salsa and guacamole. You’ll of course want to skip the rice, beans, sour cream, cheese and salad dressing if you’re following a strict paleo diet.