Chipotle is going to stop using genetically modified ingredients in its 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 colours and flavours,” Chipotle founder and co-CEO Steve Ells told The New York Times.
Two years ago, Chipotle became the first restaurant chain to identify which menu items contained genetically modified organisms. Many other restaurants have followed suit.
Consumers have become increasingly wary of genetically modified food, believing consumption could lead to health problems such as food allergies and resistance to antibiotics.
That belief is not born out by the science, however. So far, the National Academy of Sciences, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the European Commission all agree that GMO foods are safe to eat. A large scientific study from 2013 found no “significant hazards directly connected with the use of genetically engineered crops.”
Current Chipotle ingredients that contain GMOs are corn for tortillas and cooking oil.
The genetically modified ingredients are so common, it is almost impossible to eliminate them.
“They lurk in baking powder, cornstarch and a variety of ingredients used as preservatives, colouring agents and added vitamins, as well as in commodities like canola and soy oils, corn meal and sugar,” writes Stephanie Strom at The New York Times.
Chipotle’s high food standards have led to a shortage of its pork carnitas.
Earlier this year, Chipotle stopped serving pork at hundreds of locations after the company found that suppliers weren’t meeting its standards.
The brand says that it will be months before carnitas are available at all locations.
Chipotle founder and CEO Steve Ells told investors there is “very little supply cushion” for pork that meets the company’s standards.
The company demands that its suppliers give pigs access to the outdoors, rather than raising them in cramped pens.
Ells said that Chipotle has found a new supplier and will start replenishing the carnitas supply this summer.
He told The New York Times that he doesn’t expect the same shortages with other ingredients.
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