Chipotle pulls the switch on GMOs

What it took to get GMOs out of the pipeline.
chipotle taco

Chipotle pledged to move to 100 percent non-GMO ingredients in March 2013. This April, it made good on its word. Although the chain’s entire menu consists of just 46 ingredients, becoming GMO-free across its more than 1,800 locations took a full two years of work with suppliers to scale up cultivation of non-GMO crops. Chipotle’s corn and flour tortillas, which are the basis for about 90 percent of the menu, had to be reformulated with non-GMO corn and soybeans. In addition, soybean oil for frying was eliminated.

Other challenges remain: Critics claim that Chipotle’s decision is based on anti-GMO public sentiment, not scientific evidence that genetically modified food is bad. Besides, its supply chain is not totally GMO-free, as the pigs and chickens it sources are raised on GMO feed. Founder Steve Ells admitted that while research is needed before GMOs are completely understood, Chipotle decided to go ahead with this move as the debate continues. 

GMO-free taco shells

Chipotle subbed non-GMO sunflower oil for the GMO-containing soybean oil formerly used for frying the taco shells. “In making the change, we looked for alternatives that were non-GMO, but also would not impact taste, and if they did, would make it better,” says Communications Director Chris Arnold. Some preservatives and dough conditioners remain in the tortillas, but Chipotle is working with its suppliers and The Bread Lab at Washington State University to eliminate these additives.  

Smart swaps

Instead of ...This ...
Tortillas made with corn and soybeansTortillas of GMO-free corn and soybeans
Soybean oil for fryingSunflower oil for frying
Adobo seasoning with soybean oilAdobo seasoning with rice-bran oil



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