Chipotle Becomes First US Restaurant Chain to Voluntarily Label GMOs

Chipotle has marketed itself as a healthier alternative to fast food since the beginning, using many organically grown and locally sourced ingredients, and eliminating additives, preservatives and other toxins often found in fast food.

Last year, the restaurant chain even took a stand in favor of California’s Proposition 37 (voted down last November), which would have required all food containing genetically modified ingredients to be labeled as such. The company stated at the time:

“At Chipotle, telling the story of our food has always been important. We want our customers to know exactly what they are eating. For us, this is real transparency—because knowing more about where our food comes from is always better than knowing less. In light of this, and our vision of Food With Integrity, we wholeheartedly support the cause of Prop 37, having endorsed the measure as soon as we heard it was on the ballot. We want to encourage you to learn as much as you can about the foods you eat, because the truth should never be hidden, and you have the right to know.”
The restaurant even went so far as to call out the big agriculture and chemical companies that spent over $30 million urging the public to vote down the bill.

Since there are still no laws on the books requiring the labeling of GMO foods in the US (like there are in several other countries), Chipotle has now taken pioneering action, becoming the first US restaurant chain to voluntarily inform customers which of its foods contain GMO ingredients. On its “Ingredients Statement” website, Chipotle clearly outlines which products contain GMOs, explains why GMOs have been unavoidable in those instances thus far, and states its goal of eliminating their presence in its food. A statement on the website reads:


“Our goal is to eliminate GMOs from Chipotle’s ingredients, and we’re working hard to meet this challenge. 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.”
This is a prime example of a company living up to its branding — through taking action to prove itself as committed to “food with integrity” as its motto states, Chipotle has set the bar high, not just for restaurant chains, but for food-sellers in general. Whole Foods and Ben & Jerry’s have similar plans in the pipeline, and we’re curious to see what other health-conscious brands will follow suit.