The One Reason Why I Won’t Eat Chipotle
- Published on: 20 May, 2014
- Last update: 04 August, 2017
So, I love Chipotle. I really do. The food is good, the ingredients are simple, and they have boatloads of guacamole. What’s not to like?? I REALLY wanted this to be a safe place to eat for everyone, since they have been promising to go “GMO free by 2014.” Well, 2014 has been here for a while, and I went to their site a few months ago to check out the situation. They clearly have a “G” symbol for any products that still contain GMOs, and offer organic beans. Cool. Making progress!
Chipotle claims the only products that need to be labeled on their ingredient list are the ones that contain corn, since they cannot find a source of 100% non-GMO corn in America. Chipotle called me and explained that since 97% of the corn in the US is genetically modified, a clean source is almost impossible. Fair enough. At least they are VOLUNTARILY labeling their products and TALKING ABOUT GMOs to raise the public’s awareness. I want to make it clear that this post is not to bash Chipotle! It’s just to clarify a labeling issue.
While on the phone with them, I scrolled down to look at their meat listings. Many of the people who read my blog are vegan, so eating at Chipotle shouldn’t be an issue for them, as long as they avoid the corn chips and tortillas/wraps. BUT, there are others who read my blog that are not vegan and order beef or chicken at Chipotle. I myself have ordered chicken there in the past. I asked the cashier, “is your chicken GMO free?” to which she replied, “we don’t have any GMOs at Chipotle.” A few of my followers had a similar experience.
I addressed this issue with the woman on the phone. She said the employees must have been misinformed by the district manager and that they have already sent out a memo to fix this issue. She clearly stated that the meat IS FED GMOs and directed me to a small disclaimer on the ingredients statement.
So, I asked her, that if she is POSITIVE that the animals are fed GMO grains, WHY would they be labeled “Responsibly Raised” instead of “GMO” just like the corn chips? It just doesn’t make sense. I feel that using buzzwords such as “Responsibly Raised” is unfair to customers who are worried about 735638175 things other than deciphering labels. If the meat is GMO, just say it.
The only thing that ‘Responsibly Raised’ indicates is that the animals are not given hormones or antibiotics. Most farms have already stopped this practice, and as I said in my buzzwords post, the phrase antibiotic/hormone free does not mean anything in terms of GMOs.
So there’s my issue. The chicken, beef, and pork, although clearly fed GMO grains, are not labeled as GMO products on the menu. This means that the average person who has a busy day and is just trying to eat somewhere safe, may be fooled into thinking the meat at Chipotle is safe to eat. Since I spend my life writing about labels and food standards, I can tell that ‘responsibly raised’ doesn’t really mean anything special, but many of my friends have been fooled by these terms. Again, I don’t want to bash Chipotle, and I’m so glad that they are taking a stand in the GMO labeling movement, but I would just like to see the meat labeled properly.
The only way to be sure you are avoiding GMOs at Chipotle is to order organic beans only. Do not consume any tortilla chips, wraps, or other grain items. Here is an infographic of what’s safe, and what’s not.