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The First GMO-Free Restaurant?

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Posted on Jul 28, 2013
Flickr/Mike Saechang

Chipotle Mexican Grill was the first U.S. restaurant chain to label which of its menu items contained genetically engineered ingredients. Now the company is taking its “food with integrity” approach one step further by trying to eliminate GMO products from its menu.

“We decided last fall that this was something that really mattered to us,” said Chris Arnold, Chipotle’s director of communications. “We don’t have a timeline to become GMO-free, but it is something that is very much in our cross hairs.”

Among the steps the company is taking: replacing the soybean oil used to fry its chips, chicken and vegetables with non-GMO sunflower oil. The chain is also experimenting with non-GMO rice oil in its New York restaurants.

“We are working on the things that are within our control,” Arnold said.

That’s not to say there won’t be challenges along the way, however.

New York Daily News:

For now, that doesn’t include replacing Coca-cola fountain soda dispensers at any of its 1,300 stores nationwide. Coke, of course, contains high fructose corn syrup, which is invariably made with GMO corn.

Purchasing meat is also a daunting question for any large restaurant chain considering going GMO-free, Arnold said, since a big percentage animals in the U.S. are fed corn grown from GMO seeds.

Sill, Chipotle’s efforts to date seem to be paying off with what Arnold describes as a small but growing percentage of its customers.

“The GMO debate is just starting to heat up in this country,” Arnold said. “Most of the feedback we’ve received so far has been quite positive.”

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—Posted by Tracy Bloom.

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