Chipotle GMO Labels: Setting Precedent for Fast Food Industry?

Image: Chipotle GMO Labels: Setting Precedent for Fast Food Industry?

Tuesday, 18 Jun 2013 10:40 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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Chipotle is being praised by some in the fast food industry for voluntarily labeling ingredients that contain genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, reported on June 13. claims that Chipotle is "the first and only major U.S. food supplier to voluntarily label GMOs." Chipotle designates which products contain GMOs on the "Ingredients Statement" page of its website. 

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"Our goal is to eliminate GMOs from Chipotle's ingredients, and we're working hard to meet this challenge," the company states on the "Ingredients Statement" page. "For example, we recently switched our fryers from soybean oil to sunflower oil. Soybean oil is almost always made from genetically modified soybeans, while there is no commercially available GMO sunflower oil. Where our food contains currently unavoidable GM ingredients, it is only in the form of corn or soy."

Jonathan Benson, of, said that Chipotle's move to be more transparent is no surprise, considering its track record. The company has been a leader among fast food chains when it comes to using natural products.

"Chipotle has always marketed itself as a healthy alternative to fast food, having taken steps from the beginning to eliminate things like dairy products produced using the artificial growth hormone rBST, for instance, and replacing them with pasture-raised dairy products," Benson said. "Chipotle has also played a key role in propelling forward the local agriculture movement by sourcing as many locally-grown and organic ingredients as possible, and eliminating artificial additives and other toxins commonly used in fast food."

Earlier this month, Chipotle introduced tofu-based "sofritas" at its Southern California eateries, according to the Los Angeles Times. The tofu used in the dish comes from Hodo Soy, a non-GMO producer in Oakland, the newspaper reported.

Jessica Chou, editor of the website The Daily Meal, said Chipotle's announcement is overall good news for the food industry and those looking to eat more naturally. (

"Of course, the company is hoping to phase out all GMO ingredients eventually, switching from soybean oil to GMO-free sunflower oil when possible," Chou wrote on The Daily Meal. "And while they don't have a timeline for when they may be GMO-free, it's good to know that at least the information is already online (Whole Foods has vowed to have all GMO-laced products labeled by 2018). We wonder if these markers will be in-stores, too."

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Related stories:

Ben & Jerry's Ingredient List Bans Anything Genetically Modified

Labeling of Genetically Modified Foods Could Be Law in Oregon

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