In a bold move that is unprecedented in the U.S., Chipotle
has become the first national restaurant chain to
remove all GMOs from its ingredients. The restaurant chain promises to
completely rid its menu of genetically modified food, a process that mixes
genes from other crops to create foods that are cheaper to produce and more resistant to spoilage.
The pledge to offer non-GMO fare not only affects Chipotle
Mexican Grills, it also affects the company's ShopHouse Southeast Asia Kitchen restaurants. Other companies like Pepsi and McDonald's are
removing certain ingredients from their offerings as patrons
become more concerned with ingredients that they can't identify or pronounce. But Chipotle stands in a
league of its own by completely eliminating all GMOs.
According to the USDA National Agricultural Statistics Service, 94% of corn and 93% of soybeans grown in this country came from GMO strains in 2014. As a result, more than 80% of foods consumed in the U.S. contains genetically modified ingredients, making it very difficult for consumers to
avoid GMO ingredients in restaurants or in conventional food purchased in stores.
The first genetically modified plant was produced in
1983 which led to the Flavr-Savr
tomato being approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1994. The modification
allowed the tomato to delay ripening after picking. Although the FDA,
which regulates food ingredients, continues to classify GMOs as safe and some scientists believe the fear of GMOs is "all in our minds," groups
like the Center for Food Safety consistently pushes to limit the use of GMOs.