WASHINGTON, April 29, 2015 – Chipotle made news this week with its pronouncement that it has gone GMO free, making it the first fast-food chain to do so. But the company isn’t quite free of biotechnology - not even close.
Its soft drinks will continue to be made with GMO corn sweetener, and then there’s the beef, pork, chicken and sour cream that goes into the burritos. The meat and dairy products Chipotle uses are produced with genetically engineered feed, and Chipotle apparently has no plans to change that.
“All of the ingredients we use to make our food are non-GMO. That does not include soft drinks (which we do not make), and it does not include animal feed,” Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold told Agri-Pulse in an e-mail.
“Given that the vast majority of grains used for animal feed are genetically modified, it would be nearly impossible to ensure the use of GMO feed without buying organic. Buying organic presents another set of challenges, both in terms of cost and available supply. Organic meat sells at an even greater price premium than the Responsibly Raised meat we currently serve, and there is considerably less of it."
What has changed for Chipotle is that it is now exclusively using non-biotech corn flour and soybean oil. In announcing that the company had gone non-GMO in that regard, the company’s founder and co-CEO, Steve Ellis suggested there are safety concerns with biotech crops.
“Though many countries have already restricted or banned the use of GMO crops, it’s clear that a lot of research is still needed before we can truly understand all of the implications of widespread GMO cultivation and consumption,” he said.
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