Woman Sues Chipotle Over GMO-Free Menu Claims

In April, Chipotle launched a multimedia campaign pronouncing its menu free of GMOs at U.S. locations.

Nation’s Restaurant News
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A California woman has filed a lawsuit charging Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. with making false and misleading claims by saying its menu is free of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs, according to Nation’s Restaurant News.

In a complaint filed Aug. 28, 2015 in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, Colleen Gallagher filed on behalf of all California consumers who bought food from Chipotle April 27 to the present. She is represented by law firm Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP in San Francisco, Calif., which is seeking class-action status for the case.

In April, Chipotle launched a multimedia campaign pronouncing its menu free of GMOs at U.S. locations. The Denver, Colo.-based fast-casual chain had been moving toward that goal for over two years, citing concerns about the way GMO crops are cultivated, and noting that GMOs are banned or restricted in many other countries.


Editors Insight: This lawsuit raises a good question: Why does Chipotle say it cooks only with non-GMO ingredients when it openly admits that the meat and dairy it serves are likely to come from animals given some GMO feed?

Given the fact that Chipotle has done a lot to remove GMO from its food and has excellent educational information on its website about GMOs and the importance of cooking with integrity, it’s hard to understand why the company has not been more responsible in its marketing. They could have conveyed their commitment to healthier ingredients by using different marketing verbiage. Something along the lines of “Committed to ending GMOs” or “Less GMO content” would have worked.

Chipotle deserves credit for the work it has done to source sustainable ingredients. This year’s decision to remove carnitas from many restaurants until it can find a provider that meets its standards demonstrates a high level of responsibility. But by erring in its messaging, the company undermines its own integrity. 9-1-15 By Elliot Maras