More and more evidence has been cropping up concerning the health risk that foods containing GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, pose to consumer health. Now, Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG) is ready to take a stand, and that includes labeling all of its foods that contain GMOs, and setting a goal to eventually eliminate GMOs from all of its ingredients.
The term, GMO, has been tossed around the health world for a while now, and while many vow that they would never eat such a thing, many others simply don’t understand what the term means, and how prevalent it is in the food that consumers eat every day.
According to the Non GMO Project, GMOs, or genetically modified organisms, are plants or animals whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. This technology combines DNA from different species, and creates unstable combinations of plant, animal, bacterial and viral genes that cannot occur in nature or in traditional crossbreeding. It is still up for debate whether GMOs in food are environmentally safe and safe for human consumption in the long-term.
Thus, now, many food companies are working to label their foods containing GMOs and resurrect goals that involve the complete elimination of GMOs in ingredients, in an attempt to appeal to consumers who are becoming increasingly informed and weary of the prevalence of these organisms in their food.
Chipotle is the first U.S. restaurant to do so, and it now outlines on its website which of its foods contain GMOs. This include barbacoa, chicken, fajita vegetables, rice, steak, and tortillas. Whole Foods Market (NYSE:WM), too, will mark a first when it becomes the first U.S. retailer to require labeling on all of the genetically modified food it sells — a decision the company announced on March 8 and is expected to take effect within five years.
And state governments are also exhibiting increased attention to the GMO issue. Connecticut passed a bill on June 3 that requires label for foods made from GMOs; however, it will not take effect until four other states, one which much borders Connecticut, passes similar legislation. The state hopes that the trend will soon catch on and force others to pass similar bills.
Even the popular Ben & Jerry’s, Homemade is doing its part and vowing to eventually eliminate GMOs from all its products, explaining, “Here’s our status: currently, in the United States and Canada, 80% of Ben & Jerry’s ingredients by volume are sourced non-GMO. We commit to sourcing non-GMO ingredients for all our products everywhere by year-end 2013. In fact all our products made in Europe are already non-GMO.”
Though it is undoubtedly difficult for restaurants and companies to find alternatives for the components derived from genetically modified organisms, as consumer awareness increases, it is likely that more and more will be simply unwilling to subject themselves to the health risks that GMOs poise.