Experts Weigh In On Chipotle’s GMO Foods Ban

By: Tanya Lewis
Published: April 29, 2015 04:53pm ET on LiveScience.

Chipotle’s decision to prepare only food that does not contain genetically modified ingredients is adding fuel to an ongoing debate about the health and safety of these foods.

The Mexican-style restaurant chain cited three reasons for removing GMO foods from its menu, saying on its website that scientists are still studying the long-term implications of GMOs, that the foods can damage the environment and that “Chipotle should be a place where people can eat food made with non-GMO ingredients.”

But experts say the foods that contain GMOs that are currently grown in the United States are no riskier than conventionally grown foods.

The “growing international consensus” among scientific organizations is that foods made from currently approved genetically modified crops are safe to eat, said Gregory Jaffe, director of biotechnology at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, a consumer advocacy group based in Washington, D.C.

“This is not an ultrahazardous technology,” Jaffe told Live Science. Although every new food product must be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, “all current applications are safe,” he said.

GM foods are everywhere

Genetically modifying an organism involves inserting genes from one species into the DNA of another, in order to produce desirable traits, such as being resistant to pests.

There are currently eight genetically modified crops grown widely in the United States: corn, soybeans, cotton, alfalfa, sugar beets, zucchini, squash, and papaya. In fact, more than 90 percent of the country’s total acreage of corn, soybeans, cotton and sugar beets comes from seeds that have at least one genetically engineered trait, Jaffe said.

And foods containing GMOs are tough to avoid because GM crops are found in processed foods such as high-fructose corn syrup, canola oil and soybean oil, he said.

Chipotle previously used genetically modified —> Read More