Food Babe Investigates: Chipotle vs. Moe’s

This is a guest post by Vani Hari (a.k.a. The Food Babe).


Before I get into the meat of this next investigation (no pun intended), I’d like to express my disappointment with Chipotle and Moe’s. Both of them made it extremely difficult (just like Yoforia) to get the exact ingredients in their product offerings.

With marketing phrases like “Food with Integrity” and “Feed the Moement” – you’d think their messages would easily be backed by ingredients they would be willing to share. Unfortunately, this is not the case at all and it took extreme perseverance to get quality information about their ingredients. Perseverance the average consumer would likely never have.

It’s saddening to watch two competitors leading the way in organic/local/healthy fast food offerings being so secretive. If they were true leaders, they would have nothing to hide, right? I’m not saying Subway, Panera Bread and McDonalds are better than Chipotle or Moe’s – but you do have to hand it to them for willingly posting their ingredients for everyone to see.

When I emailed Chipotle asking for the ingredients in certain products they downright refused. They, in turn, asked if I was concerned about a specific ingredient or had an allergy. Really? Why do I have to be concerned about a specific ingredient or have an allergy to want to know what I am eating and what’s in my food?

When I tried to call them, there was no way for me to leave a message or get a person on the phone to answer my questions. Email responses were S-L-O-W. I had to ask very specific questions to get the data I needed to write this – specific questions that most consumers would likely not ask.

Thank goodness for the genuinely accommodating employee who shared some of the ingredients with me (behind his Manager’s back) so I could give you the full story.

I had to call the headquarters of Moe’s every single day for 8 days, visit 2 different Moe’s, and call 5 different locations in different states to finally get the full story. Moe’s company does not provide their stores with an ingredient list of what they are serving, only an allergy info guide.

Since the stores throw out the labeled boxes as soon as the food packages comes in, you would have no hope in knowing exactly what you are eating unless you call the headquarters and badger them until they finally concede.

I can only assume Chipotle and Moe’s are betting that you’ll give up and continue to be acquiesced with their marketing messages that in many cases are misleading and in some cases inaccurate.  Now that you know what it took to get this information, let’s take a look at the results of the investigation.

Both restaurants use cheap genetically modified (a.k.a. GMO) soybean oil to make most of their food. Over-consumption of this cheap oil is causing  an imbalance of Omega 6 fatty acids, which increases the risk of inflammation, heart disease, obesity, and prostate and bone cancer.

Chipotle and Moe’s both pride themselves that your meal can be “customized,” but when I asked if they could make my food without GMO oils, they couldn’t. The chicken, beef, rice, beans and the tortillas (flour, corn and soft) are all not customizable, so you have no choice but to consume GMOs if you order these items.

If you are a regular consumer of Chipotle and Moe’s because of their “local, organic and healthy” messages, you also need to be concerned about consuming GMOs. Here’s why:

  • Over 50 countries have significant restrictions or outright bans on GMOs, but here in the United States the FDA continues to not require safety standards or testing on GMOs. To date, there has been no long term study conducted for humans.
  • The Institute of Responsible Technology reported a study showing GMOs caused toxic and allergic reactions, sick, sterile, and dead livestock, and damage to virtually every organ studied in lab animals.
  • After consuming GMOs, your intestines basically turn into a breeding ground for pesticides (here’s a video explaining further). GMO soy and corn actually produce pesticides inside themselves. The plant becomes toxic inside so insects won’t eat it.
  • A study conducted and published in the Anatomical Record revealed that female rats fed GMO soy for 15 months showed significant health issues in their uterus and reproductive cycle, compared to rats fed organic soy or those raised without soy.
  • A 2009 French Study concluded the key ingredient in GMO soy can kill the cells in the outer layer of the human placenta, the organ that connects the mother to her fetus, providing nutrients and oxygen and emptying waste products.
  • A Russian study conducted on hamsters that were fed GMO soy diets for two years over three generation found that by the third generation, most of the hamsters lost the ability to have babies, showed slower growth, and suffered a higher mortality rate.
  • Fertility issues in males were also observed when a study on male rabbits found a decrease in sexual activity and sperm concentration and an increase in dead or abnormal sperm when they were fed GM soy.
  • Please note – Since neither Chiptole’s or Moe’s carries 100% Organic USDA certified label meat, the animals were all likely raised with GMO feed, which does get transferred to us when we consume it.

I could really go on and on forever listing out the different studies about the potential health consequences and why you should be concerned about consuming GMOs. I would also like to note that you will likely encounter GMOs at any restaurant (or with any processed, packaged foods) unless it is 100% organic.

If you want to learn even more – This PDF from the Institute of Responsible Technology is a great reference. And if you live in California – you must vote “Yes to Prop 37” this November to label GMOs. The outcome will likely effect all of us.

So what else did I find? Here’s a closer look at some of my other discoveries:

  • Moe’s Grass-Fed Steak – This is where Moe’s really messes up. And it wouldn’t be a stretch to say their “No MSG” label on their marketing is a big fat lie. They lace their prized grass-fed meat with 3 hidden sources of MSG – hydrolyzed soy protein, hydrolyzed corn and hydrolyzed yeast. The amount of MSG that restaurants can put in your food is not regulated. MSG is an excitotoxin that “if given in large enough doses” can excite brain cells to deathMSG can cause adverse reactions in some people including “skin rashes, itching, hives, nausea, vomiting, migraine headaches, asthma, heart irregularities, depression and even seizures.”
  • Moe’s Ground Beef – Not organic, likely contains hormones and antibiotics, contains chemical preservatives and sweetened with corn syrup. I didn’t know ground beef needed to be sweetened, yuck.
  • Chipotle’s Pork Carnitas – The only meat available to be made without GMO soybean oil.
  • Chipotle’s & Moe’s Flour Tortillas – Made with enriched white flour and partially hydrogenated vegetable oils (a.k.a. trans fat). “Previous trials have linked even a 40-calorie-per-day increase in trans fat intake to a 23% higher risk of heart disease.” 40 calories is a mere 2% of a typical 2000 calorie per day diet.  Trans fats can be deadly even in a small amount and as you can see will easily add up if you go over one serving size.
  • Chipotle’s Corn Tacos (soft or hard) – Contains preservatives and cellulose that’s made from wood pulp. Cellulose is used as filler to processed foods because it doesn’t contain calories or fat content and is cheap. Your body simply cannot use this ingredient at all nutritionally and lacks the enzymes to digest it. The thought of a company adding a cheap filler to my food to boost profits just doesn’t sit well with me, and tortillas are easily made without it.
  • Moe’s Whole Grain Tortilla – Contains many preservatives and colored with a potential carcinogen (caramel coloring) proven to cause liver tumors, lung tumors, and thyroid tumors in rats and mice.
  • Chipotle’s Roasted Chili-Corn Salsa, Tomatoes and Cilantro – These are the only two guaranteed items at Chipotle that are GMO free.
  • Moe’s El Guapo Salsa – Also colored with questionable caramel coloring. WOW. Why did they add color to the salsa? Because Moe’s salsa is a highly processed product that is mainly tomato concentrate, not real chopped tomatoes.
  • Chipotle’s Cheese – Only 65% of their cheese offering is from naturally raised cattle. Are you willing to take a 35% chance and consume antibiotics and growth hormone? 8/15 Update: Chipotle responded and said their dairy, including their cheese is now 100% antibiotic and growth hormone free – but only 65% pastured raised.
  • Moe’s Queso – Processed cheese product that is not from naturally raised animals. Contains propylene glycol, a petroleum based chemical food additive. It’s the same stuff you can find in antifreeze, and it has been reported that the following symptoms can arise after repeated small doses – throat irritation, headache, backache, and kidney problems.
  • Some Good News – Moe’s and Chipotle do not use microwaves nuking food to death or allowing it to sit out cold and be reheated again and again.

VERDICT: Clearly, based on the overly processed nature of Moe’s products, Chipotle is the lesser of two evils, especially if you just stick to a salad with guacamole and salsa. For me – I am tired of always having to choose between the lesser of two evils and it’s going to be hard to support or trust either establishment until they man up and post their ingredients.

If you are wondering how I’m going to satisfy my burrito craving until then, check out a ridiculously fast 100% organic, non-GMO, and additive free recipe here.

Comments have been closed on this article, which was written by Vani Hari. If you have a question or comment you can reach her at http://FoodBabe.com.

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197 thoughts on “Food Babe Investigates: Chipotle vs. Moe’s”

  1. I have worked for Moe’s for a while now and reading this article upset me. You don’t not have all of your facts straight, and I have never seen the El Guapo with a caramelized color. Your only reference is yourself and you still don’t even list or say you know all the ingredients in all of the foods. Should have been patient and done your research completely.

  2. Do you know if Chipotle has since started cooking all it’s meat in Rice Bran Oil instead of Soybean oil? I know for a while it was just the carnitas, but looking at their site now, the meats are not labeled as GMO… Progress already?
    Thanks!

  3. Thanks for your article. I had the worst headache the other day after eating at Moe’s and I am pretty sure it was from the queso!

  4. It is so easy you forgot a huge part of this conversation. A farmers access to non-GMO seed, processing facilities, and graineries accepting only non-GMO. If you were from rural America or a farmer you would know it isn’t just Chipotle not using it for cost but also supply. They have said they are working to rid GMO’s. actually only fast food restaurant to say that but the HUGE agricultural bottlenecks and barriers will take time to overcome.
    Non-farmers have really little understanding of commodity crop farming or how any type of change can or will happen. It would be so easy in your world

  5. While I’m not going to claim either of these restaurants serve particularly “healthy” food, I just wanted to point out that it is illegal to use growth hormones in the poultry and dairy industry. If something on your shelf claims to be guaranteed growth hormone/antibiotic free, don’t worry, it’s just clever marketing – all of the products on that shelf are just as growth hormone/antibiotic free.

    As someone who works in the dairy industry, it just tends to get a little old when people claim we pump our cows full of growth hormones to produce more milk, when steroidal hormones are very much illegal in the dairy industry. rBST is allowed, though BST is present in ALL milk, regardless of whether a cow has been given supplemental a mounts of it or not. If you see a claim to be rBST free, just remember that NO test exists that can differentiate between the BST in milk from cows that have or haven’t been treated with rBST. All it means is someone has signed a piece of paper promising they don’t use it. Bovine somatotropin is a naturally produced peptide hormone in the cow and is not a steroidal hormone. These are two very different chemical processes within the body. Bovine somatotropin has no effect on humans anyway, but even if it did, you’d have to be directly injected with it – peptide hormones are non functional in the digestive tract, so eating them has no consequence. That’s why dairy cows treated with it are injected, not fed. But if it makes you feel better, I know very few producers who actually use rBST. Between the cost and annoying negative PR behind it, most consider it not worth the gains.

    Anyway sorry for the long comment. I’m right there with you on the use of hydrogenated oils in products and just general withholding of information…if you want “hormone free” milk you’re going to have not drink milk, because all milk contains hormones, but it does not contain steroid/growth hormones in the way that clever marketing would have you believe. And it’s quite illegal to use any type of hormones in poultry and swine. Beef producers are allowed to use testosterone at minimal amounts on steers, about the equivalent of if a steer had not been castrated and was producing testosterone naturally (since the testicles are what produce it). Makes no difference to the end product other than they finish out a little quicker, since bulls obviously mature faster than steers…

  6. People are trying so hard to eat natural that its becoming un natural so what if foods now are not natural, before it was possible to make gmo based food peoples lifespans were much shorter mans lifespan is increasing even with gmos and other stuff so long as you dont eat it like the guy on supersize me you weill be fine stop being so anal about it i understand that it will help you live even LONGER but why would you want your life to out live every other functioning part of your body, i for sure dont want to outlive my memory or common sense carpe diem.

    1. I would like to debate a few points you made. People trying too hard to eat natural becoming unnatural, people living longer even with GMOs, and out-living your body/memory/common sense.

      Is it unnatural to strive to supply our bodies with nutrients designed for us by the earth (God if you prefer)? It is primal instincts to eat what we know is good for us. Overwhelming evidence becomes scientific law. I am convinced by the overwhelming evidence of the negative impact of GM crops on what seems increasingly more like our whole biosphere. I for one will go out of my way to fight for our food by supporting the just and rejecting the greedy; local organic farmers vs Big Greedy Food Corp.

      GMO crops have only been introduced to us for less than two decades. Hardly enough time to deduce it’s role in shortened life expectancy and more importantly, quality of life. The real issue is how it will effect the generation born into this plague of Roundup that consumes our global food system and ecosystem. These new generations of children will be the ones affected the most. 3 generations of this and we may see a serious infertility rate. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jeffrey-smith/genetically-modified-soy_b_544575.html

      GMOs have been linked to many neurological disorders. From my understanding you are suggesting that by eating organic you will live longer or at least that is the hope. You are also suggesting that by living longer you will outlive your mental capacity and essentially be in a comatose state? Healthy eating promotes a healthy mind. We all know elderly people that are sharp as a whistle. Just because you age doesn’t mean you lose your marbles.
      http://www.examiner.com/article/data-show-correlations-between-increase-neurological-diseases-and-gmos

      GMOs are fairly new, nobody wants to be a human experiment. Do your part to help, any little thing helps.

      Please, give me your thoughts.

      Respectfully,
      Steve

  7. since this post Chipotle has listed detailed ingredients on their site – including GMO ingredients and plan to phase out all GMO ingredients in the future (i know the pork isnt cooked in GMO soy oil)

  8. everything that we put in our bodies is bad for us. even if u grow it in ur on back yard the chemicals in the dirt u use, even the rain that falls down on it. there is just no way around it. u just cannot be anal about it u will drive urself crazy

  9. You are AWESOME for doing the research and writing this article! I’m getting into clean eating and I got really suspicious of Moe’s (a restaurant I frequent) when I couldn’t find an ingredients list on their website to back up their claims. I’m reevaluating my weekly Moe’s trips. Thank you!

  10. I’ve worked at Moe’s for four years now, and every single time I am asked a question about our ingredients, I go right into the back and bring up the box you claim we throw away, and either read the ingredients to the customer, or let them see it. We are very open with our ingredients. I feel like you should update this. I had a customer the other day tell me that a blog she reads gave her the impression that Moe’s lies about their ingredients and has been proven to use Monsanto tomato seeds. I searched far and wide for this supposed blog post and the only one that sort of fits the description is this one. I don’t feel comfortable with my customers being turned away by a blog post that no longer has valid information.

    1. You are foolish for not reading in between the lines. Moes is not open with their ingredients because if they were, they would have provided a thorough ingredient list of what is REALLY used in their food. Do you really think they would put every ingredient on their boxes so employees and people who really care will see the toxic trash that will go into their bodies? I challenge you to ask questions and do your research beyond your 4 hour shift at Moes. You don’t feel comfortable with the truth. Unless you do your research, you should not be mad OR upset that customers don’t want to eat trash. Thank you and have a nice day.

  11. Keith’s comment of April 7th say it all about certain Americans. When a food writer points out misleading and hard to get information about a food company, Kieth says in effect, let’s eat more of eat. When a group a kids die in blaze of gun fire in Connecticut, the NRA says we need more guns. When BP spills millions of barrels of crude oil in the Gulf of Mexico, people scream the answer is to drill for more oil. This is why this country is in decline.

  12. Moe’s has been trying to contact you in regards to this chart, as they have updated several things, making your information invalid now.

  13. True, everyone has the right to eat where and what they want but by the same token everyone has the right to know what they are eating and then chose. Then again, as long as people are eating food that is basically poison those places will continue to make it poison but if everyone stopped eating it and buying it the choice those places that feed poison to kids who have no say and adults that are destoying their DNA and doing damage to future generations of what we are known as humans because they are ignorant of those choices, those places would change. The dollar talks and is handed over by the consummer. Consummer’s need to get smart and that is what this website is attempting to do, educate the consummer. If you don’t want to get smart about your food then go to another website such as MCDonalds or Burger King or many millions who will promote their poison.

  14. Crazy… I recently gave up all sources of sugar except fruit and honey, and it’s been eye opening in the extreme to try to find out if there is sugar or HFCS in my food. The answer is generally, “If you didn’t make it from raw ingredients yourself, probably.” which is sad. We have tried to eat organic and non GMO for years, but I’m finding so much misinformation and mis labeling out there on that one, it’s nuts. Used to be a big Chipotle fan. Had no idea. Not sure where we’ll get our burrito fix from now!

  15. My family and I went to Moe’s yesterday when we were at a loss of finding a restaurant open on a holiday in a small town. (We were hoping for a local Mediterranean place that offers lots of fresh goodies). Anyhow, I asked them for an ingredient list and they didn’t understand my request. I said, “You know, the list of what is in your food.” Thinking, how could what I asked not make sense. The gal went around asking all the workers and nobody had a clue until finally the ‘cook’ came out and she said, “There are no ingredients, I make everything. Those tomatoes, I cut them and the salsa, I cut the onions in that too.” Oh boy. I was shocked at the lack of knowledge even the workers had. I’m sure she did cut the produce (which are ingredients by the way) but tortillas don’t grow on trees. So I went to foodbabe.com to see if she had done any research on Moe’s and this is where I landed. Of course I knew it wasn’t as simple as “I make everything”. I felt bad for the employees who are left in the dark just as much as the consumer.

    Thank you for your hard work so that I can make educated choices on what to feed myself and my family.

  16. Why does everyone get all bent out of shape when a restaurant does not serve the most healthy of choices? If you want to know everything that goes into your food, make it yourself. I wouldn’t believe a restaurant’s ingredients if they were listed or not, but then again, I don’t really care. As I consume in moderation, I am not in danger of chemical warfare from an occassional meal at any food chain.

  17. What is most disturbing about this article is not that a restaurant doesn’t want to give away their ingredients or cooking methods, but how angry the author is.

    The solution is simple: just dont eat at the establishment if you require a complete breakdown of how their food is made. No one forces you to eat there!

    The article is also misleading. Hydrogenated oils are not necessarily genetically modified. I am not saying hydrogenated oils are healthy, but Chipotle DOES list their nutritional facts and so one can look at the amount of fat (un, sat, and trans) in their product. (Aside from Sour Cream, the highest product has only 3.5 grams of saturated fat).

    Furthermore, Chipotle products are also Trans Fat free, yet Hydrogenation is used to create Trans fat. Something doesnt add up.

    That’s not to say that the oils used are GMO free, they certainly could have been made from modified seeds.

    But then again GMOs drastically reduce the cost of food and help provide food to the world’s population. There is a give and a take. If you are writing on this blog, you have enough money to decide what you eat.

    If one orders correctly, they can get a very healthy meal at chipotle with the only real negative the level of sodium.

    Example: 49g protein, 86g carbs, 22g Fiber, only 3 grams saturated fat! Those ratios are incredible for any restaurant, or any meal for that matter. In fact, if one works out, this would be a wonderful post-workout meal to build muscle and provide energy to the body.

    I dont have any relationship to Chipotle, but I am defending them because they have dont nothing wrong. They dont force anyone to eat their food. They are a MUCH better alternative to almost any restaurant and I’d bet a better alternative to most people’s kitchen. The one problem is the level of sodium.

  18. You would think you would be able to trust these vendors but we are in a time of big business were all they care about is making that buck spending the least amount of money as possible and lying/ hiding important information from the consumers. After seeing this I am quite disappointed and will definitely research for myself.

  19. Chipotle does have a page of ingredients and of allergy information. Not sure if they had this when you wrote the article but it is on their site.

  20. I am all for healthy and all natural diets. However, working and being raised in the fresh meat/grains industry, do you know there are not enough non-GMO feeds on this planet to support any of these chains. In return, if a chain would even try to manage their purchasing based off of just this one standard prices would be driven up nearly 50%. Do you also know, that nearly 30%, possibly even more, of all GMO free labeled feed is also contaminated by cross pollination of GMO fields? Unless the USA does something completely radical about our growing/crop standards, there is not a single chance you will find any restuarant or grocery store chain that can support a non GMO buying pattern. Just some “food” for thought.

  21. Thanks for the information and all the time you invested for the research. It is sad that they do not publish what is truly in their food. Definitely a sign they have ingredients that contradict their marketing slogans. I shared this post on my Weekend Wanderings post.

  22. Could you give me the source you used for information regarding eating meat from animals fed GMO corn/soy? I am unable to find any research regarding whether or not GMOs are transferred through meat consumption.

  23. Thank you for this valuable research. Chipotle comes out ahead and I suppose both are better than other “faster-food” options. I am very disappointed to see the bad news about Moe’s grass fed steak. This is a major mistake by them. I hope they eliminate the GMO ingredients and especially the MSG.

  24. i’m so grossed out right now, thanks for the info. i mostly eat at home anyway, though. i find everytime i eat out, even at gluten free restaurants, i still have an unfortunate bathroom experience. my digestive system just prefers homecooking!

  25. Gosh, I guess I’ve gotten very cynical and wary. I’m actually kind of pleased with how well Chipotle comes out in the end ;). I have two kids with severe food allergies and so I’m already very accustomed to the run-around that companies give. Heck, try to get a single bit of info out of Heinz on their ketchup ingredients! Even if you say it’s a life threatening allergy they won’t tell you if there mustard in it, for example. I do wonder if you aren’t being a tiny bit harsh. It can be hard for restaurants to give infos since their distributors and suppliers are constantly changing. I mean, if you are ready labels every single time you buy a product you will notice that it changes over the course of time. I see changes in types of oils used in crackers…probably depending on what’s cheapest and most available at different times. It gets tough with things like tortillas that are themselves made up of several ingredients that are continually changing. We eat out some, but rarely. Heck, it’s really not that hard to make your own flour and corn tortillas…we do it with some frequency.

  26. This is really disturbing. Have you contacted Chipotle for a response as to why they are using GMO corn and soy when they claim to serve “food with integrity”and specifically bash other GMOs (RBGH) all over their packaging and advertising materials? Have you considered starting a petition on change.org specifically for Chipotle and this issue? I am tempted to do so, but it makes sense for you to do it since you have all of the pertinent information and did the research. I think especially in light of the fact that Chipotle claims to serve healthful and humane food, it would be a good petition and might serve to bring about changes.

  27. I would LOVE to see you investigate Jamba Juice! Their styrofoam cups and paper bags proudly state “NO HIGH FRUCTOSE CORN SYRUP”- but the main ingredient in MANY of their drinks is sherbet- which has HFCS. Even sneakier- many of their drinks have corn- which is not a beverage. I emailed them for ingredient lists (for a friend with a corn allergy)- and they were unbelievably vague in their response.

    Here is their reply: Hello laura,

    Thank you for taking the time to contact Jamba Juice. Some of our products do contain corn and/or corn based ingredients. The only line of smoothies that does not contain any corn or corn based ingredients are our All Fruit Smoothies. There are five delicious choices to pick from, including one of our best selling drinks, Strawberry Whirl! However, if you would like to know of the ingredients to a specific drink, please let me know if I can be of further assistance.
    Sincerely,

    Greg
    Jamba Juice
    Guest Services
    1-866-4RFRUIT ( 1-866-473-7848 )

  28. Wow, I had no idea, really. How can they say “100% grassfed beef” with all that other crap? Oh lord, we are in big trouble. Our food system is so out of whack it’s crazy! And scary!

    Thank you for uncovering this, I had no idea it was this bad. We don’t go out to eat that often, but sometimes we do go to Chipotle, thinking it is better than other restaurants. It’s really just the same, just a lot of marketing white washing.

    It just proves that any large scale food item is going to be compromised. It’s impossible to feed millions of people from one source like that and not have to cut corners. :(

  29. Oh and the term healthy is overrated. We have healthier food than some places cause of the organicness of it and no pesticides etc etc however, if u look at our menus, there’s a lot of calories. Especially if you choose to be greedy and pit 2-3 servings of rice in your burrito. Just because we have food with integrity doesn’t mean we will make you lose weight

  30. Hey, while everyone appreciates your enthusiasm for finding out the ingredients of foods at Chipotle and Noes I would like to point out some things you may have forgotten to consider. Firstly, I am an employee at Chipotle and I am telling you, from personal knowledge, the only preservative we use is citrus juice. Its mixed in our corn salsa, tomato salsa, guacomole and both pinto and black beans. Tabasco sauce acts as a preservative for our red tomatillo salsa. Our chicken and steak is marinated by hand daily with honey, soy oil, salt, and adobo. Salt is used as an ingredient in most of our foods if you consider that a preservative as well. Lettuce is hand cut every morning and never stored over night. Our chips and hard corn tacos are fried in sunflower oil not soy oil.
    If you were curious about what was in your food all you have to do is ask an employee. We memorize our recipes and can tell you every ingredient. If we don’t know the exact ingredient we have all that information in books in the back of the house. Example, I found out after reading a book of ours that our green tomatillo sales contains tomatoes. All you have to do is ask someone that works in a store. People sitting in an office making 4x as much as I do wont care. They train others to train us to care about our food. That’s what happens in a corporation.
    We make gaucomole everyday starting from the avodaco its self where we still have to personally remove the pit by spoon. Soy oil is only used for the chicken and steak and in the rice as well as the vinagrette (which we make every day fresh). Cilantro and oregano and onions and jalepenos are all cut fresh.
    I’m not saying we are the best thing in existence but I am saying we are better than what you make of us. Chipotles saying “food with integrity” means we take pride is being one of the few companies that have practically all organic foods and that we hand make all our foods. We go to local farmers and buy vegetables from them if it is season. We don’t fill our meats with all those steriods etc. They’re free range.
    I hope this helps a little. I’m not mad, I just want the facts given and I want you to be able to listen to an actual employee.

  31. Also, after tweeting your link on Twitter, Chipotle contacted me to send my concern about allergies to customer service. I found this on their website which shows that the steak, chicken, etc., all have soy oil in them including the cilantro rice and corn chips!! Good grief! This would explain why many have food allergies. People are being mislead thinking they’re allergic to corn, etc. when really it’s the soy oil that’s on it. They think they’re allergic to dairy but it’s the lack of proper enzymes in pasteurized milk and the hormones that are the issue. I don’t believe most people are allergic to soy, it’s that 98% is GMO soy. It’s the chemicals and the Roundup that monsanto plants in its seeds before the food is ever grown. Does anyone ever wonder why such a large percent of the population has all of a sudden become so allergic to so many foods??

    Here is the link showing where they use soybean oil and soybeans in their food:

    http://www.chipotle.com/en-US/menu/special_diet_information/special_diet_information.aspx

  32. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!! :) I appreciate you doing the legwork and sharing it with us all. My girlfriend and I were having dinner last night, talking about where we can and cannot eat and I have to say that it’s really coming down to almost nowhere sadly. As someone who is allergic to MSG and all MSG derivatives (Excitotoxins) like Torula yeast, autolyzed yeast extract, whey protein concentrate, hydrolyzed proteins which are all just forms of MSG, this article was a good one considering I eat at Chipotle about twice per month. I recently ate at Moe’s and didn’t find the food to have the salty msg-taste that others have so I thought I was good. However, my eye has been super puffy and itchy and I’m having the reactions that I get when eating MSG (up until the past few weeks I’ve been eating at home preparing my own meals from scratch).

    We all must do our part to learn all we can about what we consume. I read an article called The Great Culling on Natural News a few weeks ago. Apparently Bill Gates bought 500,000 shares of stock in Monsanto in 2010. He is part of an extreme group whose plan is to wipe out 90% of the population with GMO’s, keeping people on prescription meds, basically making people sick. He’s even been cited saying if we do, X,Y,Z we can eliminate X amount of the population. This goes far beyond creating large crop yields and feeding the masses, Monsanto has a much greater agenda. We need to enjoy our organic food now, because even that’s about to change as they are now trying to make it so that Organic food becomes GMO. Here is the article: http://www.naturalnews.com/036756_depopulation_agenda_eugenics_survivor.html

  33. I really apperciate this information, because my husband and I try to eat as healthy as possible, especially for reasons of health and fertility. However, I have to ask – we’re so concerned about everything in our food, but are these same people concerned about what they’re using for birth control? Hormonal contraceptives like birth control are classified as a first class carcogenic and through human waste, we are excreting estrogens into our environment. Are the same people who are willing to eat more naturally also willing to use a natural form of fertility regulation? I know I am! It goes both ways. If we’re going to be healthy in one aspect of our lives, let’s be consistent and look at ALL areas of our life.

  34. I just read this and decided to do a quick investigation myself. Surely some of this information was wrong (yeah, I know. But many consider my stubborn behavior to be an asset.). What I discovered was almost every single food product they have has soy in it. I have asked people about this and was told the opposite. Now I understand our younger son’s issues after eating at Chipotle. Just yesterday we ate there while on a trip. Today I have been banging my head trying to decipher his soy reaction. We will never be able to eat at Chipotle again due to their desire to cheapen foods with this product. Thank you for helping me figure that out. It will save my son’s health, for sure.

  35. I know this doesn’t really apply but what about Qdoba?? That’s where we prefer to get our burrito fix :) just wondering!

  36. Love Food Babe’s investigations! Great job and very interesting. Sad that these two companies will not readily give their ingredients. Thank you for all of your hard work!

  37. Vani Hari, I was contacted by Dan Barash, Executive Chef from Moe’s Southwest Grill. He gave me his personal cell phone to have a chat with him. This was prompted by my email message to Moe’s that they’d lost a long time customer due to your expose.

    However, he also mentioned that he spoke with you and had a great conversation with you. Would you care to impart some of that conversation to your readers.

    In some of the responses to readers about which restaurant is better and what not. Personally Chipotle’s in Gainesville FL is meager at best and I find the food was much more flavorful at Moe’s in Gville. So, I guess it all depends on how much effort the staff puts forth in preparing the food properly and making you feel like they want you as a customer. Quite frankly, for someone at Moe’s to actually respond… I have to give them kudos for that alone. I’ll disclose what Dan and I talked about after I read Vani’s response…

  38. Thank you so much for this information. I travel with my job, and unfortunately, I still have to put up with the lesser of evils. So I was very encouraged to know that there is no hidden MSG at chipotle. I hadn’t eaten there before, and now I know I can…obviously, I’d prefer that they did non GMO oils, organic chicken and listed their ingredients for easier access. But in the meantime, in TEMPLE Texas, I found something I could live with in a salad with the non-MSG chicken. I used to eat at Chili’s and Taco Cabana for my grilled chicken salad while traveling, but they’ve let me know they use hidden sources of MSG (Chili’s) and actual MSG at TacoCabana. So blessings to you Lisa. When you have time, would love to hear your thoughts on Jason’s Deli. That’s another place I eat frequently when I travel.

  39. It is also worth noting that Chipotle calls itself “Food with Integrity,” yet refuses to acknowledge the low-wage labor that goes in to producing its products. There is currently a struggle to get Chipotle to pay a penny more per pound for its tomatoes, an agreement YUM foods (Burger King, Taco Bell, etc), Trader Joe’s and other food chains have made. Not only do GMO and pesticide-laden foods make the consumer, but imagine what it does to the people harvesting and producing it, often at less than minimum-wage. Food justice should be a whole chain, from producer to consumer! Check out the Coalition of Immokalee Workers site for more information:http://www.ciw-online.org/, including a piece from Michael Pollan about food justice for workers.

  40. I just came across this website and I LOVE IT! I’ve had the same experience trying to get huge corporations to tell me what exactly they’re putting in their food: they refuse to give me the list but I can ask about specific chemicals that I may be allergic to. Thanks for putting together such a well-researched and incredibly informative blog :).

  41. Ugh…I’m repulsed. I try to avoid most restaurants anyway…but we usually feel good about Jason’s Deli. Any chance you can get the scoop there? I’d love to know if they are really as conscientious as they claim.

  42. Chipotle rocks. No matter where you go, Chipotle lines are very very long. Moes in my neighbor hood on the other hand, I hardly see anyone. I am not sure how they are surviving. I did my fact check and Chipotle has better ingredients than Moes.

  43. Holy cow … no pun intended. What a great post, and one I’ll be passing on to my twitter and facebook friends. Thanks so much for working so hard to get these facts, and for being so thorough. I’ll be boycotting both of these restaurants. It’s such a shame, but to eat healthy in this country — especially in certain parts of it, like the south, where I live — you pretty much have to boycott ALL restaurants, in particular the chains.

  44. This is just proof that advertisements and marketing buzzwords cannot be trusted. I would have to conclude that restaurants really have no interest in my health, but rather use clever marketing so I hear the words they know I like…like “natural” and “organic” and “healthy.”

  45. THANK YOU for doing this. It has been a real eye opener. Chipotle is the only fast food place we go to because we believed it was the healthiest……very disappointing but people need to know this.

  46. I agree with TD. It is all a balance.

    In regards to food choices, it is nearly impossible to dine out at any restaurant that is 100% GMO free. GMO is being pushed into everything. I personally have spent the last several months researching GMO in our food sources. For those that are vegetarians, soybeans are now 98% genetically modified. Soybean products are used extensively in food products.

    Monsanto and others will continue to use their powerful lobbyists to push their agendas and pass regulations, as well as prevent labeling of GM products. Monsanto and ALEC threaten journalists who try to expose those agendas. It is up to the majority of people to voice their opposition to this. More people should have been vocal with all the things that were attached to the Farm Bill recently.

    I think what is more appalling is the horrific treatment of animals in farm factories all over the US. I have spent considerable time looking into this as well. The more realistic approach right now, is to support restaurants who are trying to use less and less of mistreated/abused animals from farm factories, and less and less of dairy products without hormones. Chipotle is doing that when most chains will not even consider such decisions. They are not perfect, and they did clearly state it is “a journey that was started more than a decade ago and one that will never end.”

    For those that strictly read labels or are on a diet, Chipotle does a nutrition calculator.
    http://www.chipotle.com/en-US/menu/nutrition_calculator/nutrition_calculator.aspx

    Although we strive to buy most of our supplies at farmers markets, let go of certain purchases to spend more on organic and locally raised items, it is nearly impossible to make three meals a day EVERY DAY at home. In this modern world, one must make concessions. If I chose to have a vegetarian bowl of brown rice and beans with salsa at Chipotle, I know it is not 100% GMO free nor is it 100& organic. However, I still feel it is fine as a dining out option once in awhile. I will continue to search and support restaurants that are trying to change the norm, and are NOT using products that are 100% from farm factories.

    In regards to GMO products (vegetables and meat), the American people need to get involved in politics, and let lawmakers know we don’t agree with this and demand a change. Otherwise, it will be almost impossible to obtain GMO free products in the near future.

    It is all a balance. People who work full-time, and have families, and are taking college courses, and are involved in the community, must sometimes make sacrifices. You can’t have the ideal choice every moment. Sometimes you must be a realist and not an idealist in this real world of ours.

    Although we what positive changes to be made in the food industry, you do the best you can with what you have at any given moment.

  47. This just seems to be getting out of hand. You can eat all healthy, organic, no preservatives, etc….but eventually, just like everyone else, your body will get old and give out. Also, we can’t just take into account our foods but other environmental factors like the air we breathe, the water we drink, and where our waste goes. Many of these things are out of our control. We can do some good by eating in moderation, buying organic or local when available, getting good exercise, etc. But overall, I don’t believe in these extremist points of view. Many so called healthy people have the same mortality rates as others. I have personally seen this. It’s more than just food.

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