In a move that will likely excite anti-GMO activists, Chipotle Mexican Grill announced that as of this week they will no longer use ingredients that have been genetically modified in their food.
This isn’t the first time Chipotle has come out against GMOs. In 2013, they became the first major restaurant chain to list which menu items contained crops that have been scientifically altered to resist pests. Their decision to list the item spurred a movement across the country that had many restaurants and grocers dong the same thing. In their latest move they once again become a pioneer, as they are the first fast-food chain to say “no” to GMOs.
Steve Ells, founder and co-chief executive of Chipotle, had this to say:
This is another step toward the visions we have of changing the way people think about and eat fast food. 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.
In 1999, the company announced that it would no longer use meat that had been raised on antibiotics and hormones. Their effort to make their menu as healthy as possible for customers definitely paid off when they went public in 2006 and became the biggest U.S. based IPO in almost a decade.
GMOs have been the focal point of many debates over the last few years. The vast majority of scientific research says they are safe and essential if we want to erase world hunger.
Environmental groups say that GMOs negatively affect the food chain and the environment. They also claim that the rise of food allergies and other disorders are linked to the products:
Numerous health problems increased after GMOs were introduced in 1996. The percentage of Americans with three or more chronic illnesses jumped from 7% to 13% in just 9 years; food allergies skyrocketed. [Source]
No matter what side of the debate you are on it is nice to see a restaurant chain known for fast-food taking steps to provide fresh ingredients for consumers. Chipotle is showing us that fast-food doesn’t necessarily mean unhealthy, we just have to make better decisions. In a country plagued by obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes, it’s a welcome change.