Chipotle is pandering to pseudoscience by removing GMOs from its menu

Chipotle is pandering to pseudoscience by removing GMOs from its menu May 6, 2015

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Chipotle fell for the scare tactic. Anti-science activists have pressured the company to make a move that is not only useless, but spits in the face of the scientific method and further perpetrates a myth that genetically modified foods are unsafe.

“This is another step toward the visions we have of changing the way people think about and eat fast food,” Steve Ells, founder and co-chief executive of Chipotle, said regarding the companies new GMO ban.

“Just because food is served fast doesn’t mean it has to be made with cheap raw ingredients, highly processed with preservatives and fillers and stabilizers and artificial colors and flavors,” he continued.

GMO foods are not necessarily “cheap” or highly processed. Ells seems to be using buzzwords to sell a product and mislead consumers into thinking GMOs are something they are not.

This is really nothing more than pandering to what they see as a growing number of misinformed customers and now potential customers they believe they can snag by offering “safer” fast food alternatives.

But science tells a different story. According to a 2011 paper by plant geneticist Pamela Ronald noted a “broad scientific consensus that genetically engineered crops currently on the market are safe to eat.”

“After 14 years of cultivation and a cumulative total of 2 billion acres planted, no adverse health or environmental effects have resulted from commercialization of genetically engineered crops.”

But not everyone is listening to these scientists.

Author and journalist Michael Pollan “has been an outspoken skeptic, arguing that GMOs are a product of rapacious, corporatist food and farming movements that are making America sick and obese,” According to an article published by The Daily Beast. Yet Pollan cannot cite scientific evidence for his claim, but his reputation as a journalist writing on nutrition gives his readers a false sense of authority.

Even famed primatologist Jane Goodall got wrapped up in the anti-GMO nonsense when she said in her 2013 book, Seeds of Hope, that a 2001 study by the CDC “found twenty-eight subjects had experienced apparent allergic reactions after ingesting GM corn.”

Yet as pointed out by The Daily Beast, Goodall “fails to mention that the CDC report did not provide ‘any evidence that the reactions that the affected people experienced were associated with hypersensitivity’ to genetically modified corn.”

Chipotle however is trying to play the roll of the good guys here, offering safe and healthy alternatives to McDonalds and pretending that offering GMO free foods aids in that healthy lifestyle.

“They’re positioning themselves as the good guys, but they’re actually exploiting people’s lack of sophistication about these issues and perpetuating pseudoscience,” says Jon Entine, founder of the Genetic Literacy Project and senior fellow at the University California-Davis’s World Food Center.

Just last March Bill Nye announced he had changed his mind out GMOs after being critical of them in his book Undeniable, he said in a recent interview that after meeting with food scientists at Monsanto he was now convinced of the safety of GMO foods and would change the future editions of his book to reflect this change and new found respect for GMOs, saying, “when you’re in love you want to tell the world.”

The public will sadly fall for this publicity stunt from Chipotle and consumers will see this as a reflection of the state of GMOs and be left to believe they should be weary of GMO products.

Chipotle sadly joins the ranks of Whole Foods as selling pseudoscientific nonsense to the American public.

(Image: StockMonkeys.com / Flickr / Creative Commons)


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