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Chipotle Becomes First Fast Food Chain to Go GMO-Free
This is probably just as awesome as getting burritos delivered straight to your door. Chipotle has removed genetically modified ingredients from its menu, making it the first major restaurant chain to take this momentous step.
Photo Credit: Ken Wolter / Shutterstock.com
"Chipotle is on a never-ending journey to source the highest quality ingredients we can find. Over the years, as we have learned more about GMOs, we’ve decided that using them in our food doesn’t align with that vision," the fast-casual eatery announced. "Chipotle was the first national restaurant company to disclose the GMO ingredients in our food, and now we are the first to cook only with non-GMO ingredients."
Starting today, Chipotle's 1,831 restaurants are now using non-GMO corn and has made a switch from soybean oil to GMO-free sunflower oil and rice bran oil for their cooking.
In a statement, Chipotle noted that "93 percent of corn grown in the U.S. in 2014 was genetically modified. This includes 76 percent of corn that is both herbicide resistant and pesticide producing, with the remainder engineered for only one of those traits. Ninety-four percent of the soy grown in the U.S. in 2014 was engineered for glyphosate resistance."
"Given the concerns surrounding these types of GMOs and the chemicals associated with them, we felt it was particularly important to seek out non-GMO ingredients when possible," Chipotle added.
The health concerns about genetically modified food have been a contentious issue: many supporters say it's safe, but many others have cried foul. The World Health Organization recently designated glyphosate as "probably carcinogenic to humans." Environmental advocates are also concerned about the environmental destruction of farming genetically modified crops.
It's important to note that while Chipotle's meat and dairy products come from animals that are not genetically modified, they are still being given GMO-feed. Their beverages also contain genetically modified ingredients, including those containing corn syrup made from GMO corn. However, Chipotle said, "We are working hard on this challenge, and have made substantial progress: for example, the 100 percent grass-fed beef served in many Chipotle restaurants was not fed GMO grain—or any grain, for that matter."
The health-concious company has been working for several years to remove GMOs from its offerings. In 2013, they disclosed all the ingredients on their menu that contained GMOs, the first restaurant chain to do so.
“This is another step toward the visions we have of changing the way people think about and eat fast food,” the company’s co-CEO Steve Ells told the New York Times. “Just because food is served fast doesn’t mean it has to be made with cheap raw ingredients, highly processed with preservatives and fillers and stabilizers and artificial colors and flavors.”
The restaurant has been taking many steps to feed its customers more consciously. Last December, Chipotle pulled pork from its menu in hundreds of its restaurants after an audit of its supply chain showed pigs raised in confined quarters.
Chipotle is not just concerned about providing better quality and ethically raised food to consumers, they are also aiming to protect the environment. In March, Chipotle warned customers and investors alike that climate change might eventually affect the availability of some ingredients that go into burrito toppings, like its signature guacamole.
“Industrial ranching and factory farming produce tons of waste while depleting the soil of nutrients,” the company’s Food With Integrity statement said. “These seem like bad things to us. So we work hard to source our ingredients in ways that protect this little planet of ours."
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As a growing number of states move to pass laws that would criminalize pipeline protests and hit demonstrators with years in prison, an audio recording obtained by The Intercept showed a representative of a powerful oil and gas lobbying group bragging about the industry's success in crafting anti-protest legislation behind closed doors.
Speaking during a conference in Washington, DC in June, Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), touted "model legislation" that states across the nation have passed in recent months.
AFPM represents a number of major fossil fuel giants, including Chevron, Koch Industries and ExxonMobil.
"We've seen a lot of success at the state level, particularly starting with Oklahoma in 2017," said Morgan, citing Dakota Access Pipeline protests as the motivation behind the aggressive lobbying effort. "We're up to nine states that have passed laws that are substantially close to the model policy that you have in your packet."
Big Oil is now using its political power to try and criminalize protests of oil & gas infrastructure.— Friends of the Earth (@foe_us) August 19, 2019
"This legislation has potential to punish public participation and mischaracterize advocacy protected by the First Amendment."https://t.co/bmiHjONEhy
The audio recording comes just months after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law legislation that would punish anti-pipeline demonstrators with up to 10 years in prison, a move environmentalists condemned as a flagrant attack on free expression.
"Big Oil is hijacking our legislative system," Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said after the Texas Senate passed the bill in May.
As The Intercept's Lee Fang reported Monday, the model legislation Morgan cited in his remarks "has been introduced in various forms in 22 states and passed in ... Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota."
"The AFPM lobbyist also boasted that the template legislation has enjoyed bipartisan support," according to Fang. "In Louisiana, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the version of the bill there, which is being challenged by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Even in Illinois, Morgan noted, 'We almost got that across the finish line in a very Democratic-dominated legislature.' The bill did not pass as it got pushed aside over time constraints at the end of the legislative session."
Many of the state bills restricting the right to protest have been "drafted by companies and passed through groups like ALEC, the secretive group of corporate lobbyists trying to rewrite state laws to benefit corporations over people." @greenpeaceusa https://t.co/ZxpTjWdrwT— Stand Up To ALEC (@StandUpToALEC) May 6, 2019
Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.