This week, Chipotle was linked to over 140 cases of the highly contagious Norovirus in Boston, bringing the total amount of illnesses caused by the multinational corporation to almost 200 people within the past month. Despite this, Chipotle’s founder and CEO, Steve Ells, has defended Chipotle’s anti-science stance.
Lack of Responsibility
Chipotle previously publicly admitted that being “GMO free” makes the chain more susceptible to outbreaks of food-borne illnesses, which they acknowledged in their 2014 annual report. In the report, Chipotle admits that they are putting the public at greater risk of food borne illness, that non-GM foods take longer to grow and have lower yields, and that they don’t really know who their suppliers are or will be. How is this demonstrating responsibility on their part?
It’s about anti-science, not just Chipotle
Study after study has shown that current commercially available GM foods are perfectly safe. But Chipotle isn’t interested in “facts” or “evidence” when there’s plenty to pander pseudoscience to. It’s marketing based on an unsubstantiated fear of technology. A visit to Chipotle’s wall on Facebook demonstrates the company’s willingness to cater to conspiracy theorists and entertain some pretty wild ideas:
The issue we have isn’t Chipotle claiming to be “GMO free” (even though they’re not actually GMO free). There are hundreds of companies that brand themselves as “non-GMO” (see also: everything is a GMO). The issue is they are doing so while villainizing GM technology. Their slogan, “Food with Integrity”, falsely suggests that GM foods are not as safe as non-GM, which perpetuates outright lie that GM food is dangerous. How many deaths or illnesses have been attributed to GM food? None.
There are over 250 different food borne illnesses. Which one do you think Chipotle will serve up next? My guess is Listeria.