Chipotle Mexican Grill is stepping into the controversy over a ballot initiative in Colorado to flag foods that contain genetically modified ingredients.
The fast-casual chain said it supports the measure, which would require wholesalers and retailers to label foods that include a genetically modified organism, or GMO. The mandate wouldn’t apply to restaurants.
On a voluntary basis, Chipotle already points out to customers what GMOs are used in the chain’s restaurants.
Chipotle founder and co-CEO Steve Ells said the ballot initiative, Proposal 105, is an important safeguard for consumers, and that opponents are putting profits ahead of people.
Ells and Chipotle have been outspoken critics of so-called factory farming. A popular video produced by the chain stars a scarecrow who unhappily works in a factory, glumly manufacturing fare until he discovers how food is produced on a farm. He ends up selling the unprocessed food in what becomes a Chipotle.
The video drew fire from industry groups and individuals, who criticized Chipotle and Ells for blasting the use of processed and so-called value-added foods. However, the video has been cited by Ells and fellow executives as an important marketing tool for Chipotle, underscoring the chain’s claim of serving “food with a difference.”