Chipotle's flashy ban on GMOs is totally backfiring

Chipotle’s recent ban on genetically modified ingredients is facing mounting criticism.

The move, which was initially praised, is being called “bad science” and “opportunistic.”

Some are even pointing out that Chipotle sells soda with corn syrup from genetically modified corn.

Chipotle’s GMO ban abuses the public’s scientifically-unfounded fear to sell burritos, according to a recent piece by the Chicago Tribune editorial board.

“Chipotle has embraced the fearmongering of some food, environmental, and health activists who have turned ‘GMO’ into a dirty word,” the authors write.

The brand’s GMO ban is also potentially misleading to customers, according to Jesse Singal at New York Magazine, who may assume the company did it for health reasons, not for publicity’s sake.

“Most consumers aren’t going to carefully analyse the scientific consensus on a given issue — who has time for that? Rather, they use mental shortcuts, taking cues from people and institutions they trust,” Singal writes. “Chipotle has developed a reputation for corporate responsibility and making careful decisions about the ingredients on its menu, and Chipotle ditched GMOs — therefore, GMOs must be bad.”

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.”

Chipotle gmo ChipotleChipotle is widely marketing its ban on GMOs.

Still, Chipotle management has been openly critical of GMOs.

“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. though none of those criticisms are related to GMOs? might want to clarify, find another quote, or remove.

Chipotle started on their anti-GMO campaign two years ago, when they became the first restaurant chain to identify which menu items contained genetically modified organisms. Many other restaurants have followed suit.

Current Chipotle ingredients that contain GMOs are corn for tortillas and cooking oil. The company says those will be replaced CK JUST CHECKING.

THEY HAVEN’T ADDRESSED THE SODA ISSUE? maybe mention that again here. then continue to enumerate other ways that GMOs are sliding through their “ban” with the grafs below.

Genetically modified ingredients are so common that it is almost impossible to eliminate them, especially when different batches of product get mixed together in the food pipeline.

“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,” The Times’ Stephanie Strom writes. [LURK seems a little ominous]

And there are other ways in which GMOs enter the food pipeline that Chipotle seems to be ignoring. Dan Charles at NPR points out that the brand’s meat comes from animals that eat genetically modified food.

“It would be much harder, and presumably more expensive, to use only meat from pigs or chickens that consumed a non-GMO diet,” Charles writes. “Finding a new supply of animal feed would raise costs, so Chipotle isn’t doing it.”

He also criticises Chipotle food for its high calorie and sodium counts.

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