Is Chipotle’s Menu Really GMO Free?

Chipotle Mexican Grill
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Eating out just got easier for conscientious eaters and GMO objectors. Chipotle took the step to become the first national restaurant chain to disclose GMO ingredients in their food in 2013. Then they took it a step further and became the first to cook only with non-GMO ingredients.

Chipotle makes it easy to figure out what’s in the food you’re eating. They have a key so you know if the ingredients are local, organic, pastured, responsibly raised, GMO or contain preservatives. Just check out their ingredient statement – it’s easy to read and understand.

They removed GMO corn from the tortillas, chips and salsa, and GMO soy oil from all of the food they serve. So you will find no direct GMO ingredients in the food they serve.

One reason customers love Chipotle is that we use great ingredients. For us this means great taste, but it also means that the food we serve should be made with ingredients raised with care for animals, farmers, and the environment. We’re doubtful that the GMO ingredients that used to be in our food meet these criteria.

Chipotle Burrito Bowl

Image courtesy of Mr.TinDC.

However, it’s important to understand their GMO free transition stops with GMO corn and soy – for now. They haven’t changed the meat or dairy products they serve. While their dairy is antibiotic and hormone free (and mostly pastured), most of the meat and dairy products they serve come from animals that were fed GMO feed.

Most of the animal feed in the US comes from GMO soy, corn and alfalfa. This means it’s not as easy to source meat or dairy from animals that weren’t fed a GMO diet on a large scale. Chipotle says it is working to address this challenge though, and has made some progress. The Chipotle website says some locations serve grass-fed beef that was never fed GMO grain (only 100% grass).

Another thing to note is that the beverages served at Chipotle do still contain GMO ingredients. High fructose corn syrup is the sweetener used in most sodas, and it’s almost always made from GMO corn. Even the soda brands that have switched to “sugar” from high fructose corn syrup typically use GMO beet sugar. If it doesn’t say cane sugar specifically, you should assume the sugar is from a GMO source.

Even though they have more work to do to get to a completely GMO free menu, they have taken bigger steps than any other national chain. If you avoid GMOs, you can avoid them at Chipotle the next time you dine out.

Have you eaten at Chipotle since they went GMO free?

Feature image courtesy of Mike Mozart 

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Chrystal Johnson

Chrystal Johnson, publisher of Happy Mothering, founder of Green Moms Media and essential oil fanatic, is a mother of two sweet girls who believes in living a simple, natural lifestyle. A former corporate marketing communication manager, Chrystal spends her time researching green and eco-friendly alternatives to improve her family's life.