Chipotle crispy chicken taco
Chipotle has reached its goal of removing most GMO ingredients from its food.
DENVER – In a first for a national restaurant brand, Chipotle Mexican Grill will use non-GMO ingredients at its restaurants, including all of the company's ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen. Excluding tortillas, Chipotle's menu consists of 46 ingredients.

In 2013, Chipotle began disclosing GMO ingredients in its food, and pledged to move to non-GMO ingredients for all of its food. The company said most of the GMOs in its foods were tied to soybean oil, which is used to cook chips and taco shells in addition to a number of recipes and for cooking on grills and sauté pans. Chipotle corn and flour tortillas also included some GMO ingredients.

“There is a lot of debate about genetically modified foods,” said Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO of Chipotle. “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.”

Customers saw no increase in prices, the company said, because its move to non-GMO ingredients did not result in significantly higher ingredient costs.

“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 Ells. “That’s really unusual in fast food, but that’s the quest we are on, and we continue to make progress.”

Chipotle's next challenge is development of new recipes for its tortillas, which are the only food items that include artificial additives.