Chipotle has removed all genetically modified ingredients from its restaurants, according to a report from The New York Times. Chipotle began labeling dishes that contained GMOs in 2013 and had planned to cut the ingredients out of the company supply chain by the end of 2014, but ultimately needed a few extra months to make the switch. The company is the first major fast food chain to entirely remove GMOs from its menus, spanning 1,831 different locations worldwide.
For anti-GMO activists, the hope is that this will inspire similar changes across the industry, similar to the company's stance on agricultural antibiotics. Since 1999, the company has committed to using meat from animals raised without antibiotics or hormones, despite significant supply chain pressure as the company has grown. Recently, other chains like McDonald's have followed suit, a move that many attribute to market pressure from Chipotle.
But while antibiotic resistance is a real and growing problem, the harmful effects of GMOs are still largely unproven. The bulk of the scientific research shows the benefits of genetic modification far outweighing the risks, and many see the crops as crucial to fighting world hunger. Local agriculture bans have also proved controversial, as with a recent push to ban GMO crops in Hawaii. Still, with one of the world's major fast food chains committed to staying away from modified crops, the market for non-GMO crops isn't going anywhere.