Chipotle Goes 100 Percent GMO-Free, Becoming First National Chain To Do So

Chipotle has finished removing all genetically modified ingredients from its menu, the company confirmed to The New York Times on Sunday, April 26.

As of Monday, Chipotle's more than 1,800 locations will serve only food that is free of genetically modified organisms. Most of the chain's ingredients were already free of GMOs, but the company has now finished changing the ingredients of its tortillas, the only remaining item that contained artificial additives.

In 2013, the restaurant become the first national company to voluntarily disclose its GMO ingredients, and announced at the time that it was in the process of removing GMOs entirely. In order to do so, Chipotle suppliers planted non-GMO corn varieties, and the company switched to sunflower oil and rice bran oil. 

"There is a lot of debate about genetically modified foods," said Chipotle founder and CEO Steve Ellis. "Though many countries have already restricted or banned the use of GMO crops, it's clear that a lot of research is still needed before we can truly understand all of the implications of widespread GMO cultivation and consumption. While that debate continues, we decided to move to non-GMO ingredients."

As for its tortillas, Chipotle is working with both its suppliers and the Bread Lab at Washington State University to develop a new system of tortilla-making that will eliminate the need for artificial preservatives.

"We are changing the way people think about and eat fast food, and that means cooking with the very best ingredients — ingredients that are free of additives — but still serving food that is affordable, convenient, and most importantly delicious," said Ellis. "That's really unusual in fast food, but that's the quest we are on, and we continue to make progress."

Earlier this month, Chipotle also announced the launch of a delivery service across 67 cities with the help of Postmates, a third-party company that helped Starbucks begin testing delivery options as well.