Chipotle Will Stop Serving GMO Food

The New York Times is reporting that Chipotle will no longer serve any GMO food at its restaurants starting Monday.

“This is another step toward the visions we have of changing the way people think about and eat fast food,” said Steve Ells, founder and co-chief executive of Chipotle. “Just because food is served fast doesn’t mean it has to be made with cheap raw ingredients, highly processed with preservatives and fillers and stabilizers and artificial colors and flavors.”

Chipotle is following in the footsteps of other businesses that label their food non-GMO or offer an expanded organic inventory to address growing GMO concerns from consumers.

Making the switch will be difficult, almost all corn products are GMO now as well as sugar, soy and canola oil.

Chipotle already has a high standard for its ingredients. A recent issue with the quality of pork lead to a shortage of carnitas around the country, but the company doesn't expect a similar situation with the non-GMO food. “We’re working with our farmers to plan enough of these crops we need to meet our supply,” he said. “With pork, it’s harder because we only need one part of the animal, the shoulder, and the farmer needs to sell the whole animal to make it work.”

Apparently, there are only 68 ingredients that comprise the food on the Chipotle menu, compared with 81 ingredients for one of their competitors to make a burrito.  Yikes.

All of these changes come with a cost...to the customer. Increased costs for non-GMO flour tortillas might lead the company to raise prices. "But Mr. Ells said the cost of going G.M.O.-free was "de minimis.'"

“It’s really mostly about beef,” he said.