DENVER — About half of the ingredients used by the Denver-based Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant chain contain genetically modified organisms, the company announced recently.
The brand, which often promotes its commitment to naturally raised meats and local produce in a bid to distance itself from chains like Taco Bell and McDonald’s, recently became the first fast-food chain to label the ingredients it uses that contain GMOs. The total, according to the chain’s website: 12 of 24 common ingredients contain the controversial foods.
That list includes all tortillas and rice, plus all of the varieties of meat except for pork carnitas. Which means that the only way to totally avoid GMOs at Chipotle would be to stick with lettuce, beans, pork and some toppings such as salsa.
There is no law requiring businesses to disclose the use of GMOs to customers. Chipotle’s executives are among a very small group of restaurant and grocery bosses who voluntarily share the information. In fact, Chipotle publicly supports a campaign that would require all chains to label GMOs. A note on the restaurant’s website says that the chain is trying to eliminate the foods, but that it’s impossible to find reliable sources of corn and soybeans that don’t include them.
GMOs have been used in food since at least the 1990s. Despite concern from some consumer and environmental groups, most scientists agree that GMOs are no more dangerous than conventional foods. Few or no ill effects have ever been documented in humans.