Starting today, there’s something you won't find at Chipotle Mexican Grill: food that contains genetically modified ingredients, or GMOs. The company’s online Ingredient Statement reminds us that Chipotle was the first national restaurant to disclose the GMO ingredients in its food. Now its upped its game by being the first to “cook only with non-GMO ingredients.”
According to The New York Times, to achieve the goal of being GMO-free, Chipotle’s biggest hurdle was finding cooking oils in sufficient quantities that did not come from genetically modified sources. Not only did the company have to find enough GMO-free oil, it had to find oils that were vegetarian and vegan-friendly and sustainably sourced. That meant no lard and no palm oil. In the end, the company opted to use GMO-free sunflower oil to fry its chips and tortillas and GMO-free rice bran oil for rice and fajita vegetables.
There's a caveat, however. The company says “the meat and dairy served at Chipotle are likely to come from animals given at least some GMO feed.” Because most animal feed in the U.S. is genetically modified, Chipotle wouldn’t be able to source enough from animals not fed GMO feed and still meet customer demand. Another goal the company is working on, according to the Ingredient Statement, is eliminating preservatives from its tortillas.Company officials say they are working on both these challenges.
Given Chipotle’s history of continually improving the sourcing and sustainability of its ingredients, I don’t doubt it.
Related on MNN:
- What's the difference between GMO foods and hybrid foods?
- Chipotle's new vegan option: Sofritas
- Hershey's to steer clear of GMOs