The Hill’s Chipotle article The Chipotle restaurant chain, which has faced scrutiny over its reliance on genetically modified (GM) food ingredients, is using genetically modified seeds to grow its organic lettuce and corn on its campus in California.
Chipotle announced the partnership with the California Growers Association, which supports organic agriculture, on Friday.
“We are excited to collaborate with the state of California on this groundbreaking initiative to promote organic agriculture in California,” Chipotle CEO Steve Ells said in a statement.
“California has been the first state in the nation to require GM labeling of food products, and we are proud to support this effort to ensure our food comes from farms that are 100 percent organic.”
The agreement allows Chipotle to use seeds from the same company that makes the company’s famous burp sauce, which is made with genetically modified corn.
In addition, Chipotle will now be able to use the same technology that other grocery chains have used to grow lettuce on its own property, which can include the addition of a seed from another company.
The deal also will allow Chipotle’s organic lettuce to be grown on land it already owns in California, which will be used for the company to use as its own organic farm.
But it’s not the only organic food chain to be partnering with GMO-sourced seed.
A number of other food and beverage companies have also signed on to grow organic lettuce, including Nestlé, Whole Foods Market, and Trader Joe’s.
Chipotle’s announcement comes as the company faces mounting criticism over its relationship with genetically engineered food ingredients.
In February, the company was forced to pull its entire organic lettuce business because of concerns that GM seeds had been used in some products, including its famous burrito, which contains a mix of corn and soybeans.
Since then, a number of studies have raised questions about the safety of GMOs in food, including an investigation by the Food and Drug Administration into Chipotle food and its use of GM ingredients.
Chipotle said it is confident the organic lettuce partnership will improve its organic farm and ensure organic agriculture will continue to thrive.