Food Babe Investigates: Chipotle vs. Moe’s

This is a guest post from Vani Hari (a.k.a. The Food Babe) and New York Times Best Selling author. You can read more about her take on the food industry in her second book, Feeding You Lies!


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.


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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. FOOD BABE MOJO LOST. I think the Food Babe has has lost her mojo. From everything I know about Moe’s (or even Chipotle), the information here is fabricated. It appears just because someone did not answer the phone when you called, that none of their claims is true. I know for a fact that the claims of these brands are true (except maybe organic at 100% Chipotle locations-this is virtually impossible). It is unfortunate that a person like this can claim anything they want just to make her followers think they are actually doing something of value. Well, this is a disservice to her readers and these restaurants owners. Very shoddy investigation.

    1. What’s not true Brady? What’s fabricated? The ingredients speak for themselves. I can send you the email responses that I got directly from Moe’s and Chipotle if you like.

  2. While i find your articles interesting, you lost me on this one. When you began to rant about how slow they were in their responses and how hesitant they were to give out their ingrediant lists (they could be worried that you were trying to copy their food. How did they know that you weren’t really trying to rip them off?), I was turned off. Then the article turned into a rant on GMOs, not information about the foods in question.
    Not every resturant can comform to “100 per cent organic, perfect food.” Sadly, that food is expensive and people wouldn’t be able to afford to eat at those resturants. Also, I wonder what you expect from fast food joints. You seem shocked when some of these places (not thinking of Chiplote or Moe’s but others you have profiled) are high in fat or filled with preservatives. It’s fast food- everyone knows it is not going to be addtive or preservative free!
    FoodBabe, you have the real chance to have a good following and make some changes. You could suggest real, practical changes. (Ie, suggest that Chipolte find a way to disclose the origins of their food without making it easy for people to copy their recipes, find inexpensive ways to replace GMOs without jacking up the cost of food, etc) However, your sanctimonious tone is a real turn off for some readers (me) and I don’t want to read your articles because of it.

  3. while I appreciate all the work gone into this article, you have to say that it is still considered “fast food” and no one in their right mind is/should eat there everyday anyway…you can probably say the same things about 80% of the stuff in the grocery stores too right?? At least Chipotle and Moes are trying;some fast food joints aren’t even doing that! I still think they have integrity; I mean, who’s perfect in the world of fast food?

  4. Another great article. I am a fan of informed choices. As a mom of several young children having home cooked, organic fresh meals 365 days a year is impossible. But it is nice to have places to go that are slightly better than others. However, my children tend to prefer Moe’s but after this looks like I need to sway them a little bit :) When I choose to eat out with my family I recognize that no where is going to serve them a meal that is as healthy and nutrient rich as it would be if I prepared it, but sometimes there just isn’t a choice.

    Question for you: Are there places that you DO eat out? Here in Atlanta we love R. Thomas, but that is almost an hour away and not feasible for us on a regular basis. I would love to hear if there are places that you do feel offer good food for those eating out.

  5. Great article. I own a small salad restaurant in Baton Rouge, LA and we are doing everything we can to make our recipe GMO and preservative free. It can be a challenge when sourcing ingredients as great ingredients are almost twice as much. We continue to fight the good fight though!

    PF
    http://www.patrickfellows.com

  6. Your bit regarding the effects of GMO are a bit heavy handed and one sided. Each one of your links can be argued. You state them like they are fact, like there aren’t scientists arguing against these claims and saying that many of these studies were not carried out appropriately. I’m not saying that I believe that GMO are awesome and safe and have no issues whatsoever, but I do believe in presenting things in a balanced manner. When someone presents things in an alarmist way, it just takes away from their integrity and as someone I should trust to give me good information.

    Take your very link to the video. That video is Jeffrey Smith talking about how my intestines will become a breeding ground for pesticides. Let’s ignore how ridiculously “scary” that sounds (alarmist statement) and just look at Jeffrey Smith. Jeffrey Smith has no scientific credentials. Best information available states he has an MBA and had/has a swing dance studio in Iowa. He was also an aide for a would-be senator at some point. Oh and he also like to demonstrate his yogic flying technique. Yes, the people who believe they can harness power to fly and also render themselves invincible by creating invisible shields. Of course the flying is merely bouncing on a foam mat and taking a picture while that person is mid-bounce – but perhaps one day they will achieve their objective of getting enough people to learn to create the shield so nations will be rendered invincible and we would have world peace. That’s nice. But really, this guy? His video? His proclamations about GMO? I basically shut down after that. If you are willing to bounce on a foam mat and tell me it is flying, what else are you *willing* to say in order to make some change.

    So there’s my problem Food Babe. I’m sorry but nothing else you could write about the effects of GMO will come through because I know think you have no filter for what you read on the internet. Again, I’m not saying that they might not be harmful but we need to have a filter for the silly in order to obtain credibility. It is disappointing when you realize the confirmation bias people have and are not willing to challenge in order to present a balanced non-alarmist view of a subject. I’m not trying to be mean. This is a blog, these are your opinions and that is fine. You can believe what you like. I just feel the need to point out my problem with how you present your information and the quality of the information presented. I’m sure people will disagree with me as well. The beauty of debate.

    Here is a link with a picture of Jeff “floating.” http://academicsreview.org/reviewed-individuals/jeffrey-smith/

  7. Chipotle was the only restaurant I trusted when I had my dairy allergy. When I found out I couldn’t have soy…. We didn’t eat out at all. So I agree, chipotle is the lesser evil. I found their website easy to navigate if your looking for allergy info.

  8. Well, I’ve never read you before and see that you have a following so I am dissapointed that, in regards to Chipotle, you left out vital information in your research. Primarily, the fact that because Chipotle is not using a single source meat facility (which greatly increases their cost) they cannot accurately and universally label their meat. Here in Missouri they are using state grown beef and chicken, and their pork supply is at least in the works locally. The corporate HQ would never legally be able to claim ingredients for items that only the stores touch. Only playing to one side of a very difficult topic in an industry where not even whole foods can claim no GMO’s is misleading itself.
    If you want to lay angry blame – try Monsanto.

  9. I am surprised that you had such a hard time getting information from Chipotle. When I contacted them regarding the GMO issue, they used a little marketing spin, but we actually quite forth-coming that the ingredients they used are not in fact organic and do contain GMOs. They said that the cost to use only organic, non-GMO products was about 3-4 as expensive as conventional and that the company could not absorb that cost at this time. True, the tout their food as Food w/ Integtrity.. but it’s up to the consumer to know what 100% organic, natural etc.. means. Even the producers of Clover and Berkeley Farms milk admit that their conventional products contain certain levels of GMOs because the feed they give their cows comes from non-organic corn. My advice.. grow your own, buy 100% USDA organic.. or move to Europe where GMO crops are illegal.

  10. Burrito bowls like the ones at Chipotle have to be THE easiest thing I make in my kitchen…all you need is a great black bean recipe (the Spicy Slow Cooker Black Bean Soup from Allrecipes is my favorite–just don’t mash any of the beans), marinate some chicken in spices (chili powder, garlic, onion, maybe a little oregano–whatever floats your boat) and cook some rice with cilantro in it (which I don’t do–cilantro tastes like soap to me! lol) If you really want some yummy, use quinoa instead of rice. Customize at will–this is my go-to when I have company over and want to feed them something remotely healthy, but without them realizing it. lol

  11. I agree with many of the other readers that this might be a bit harsh. Not in the facts, but in the attitude taken. It seems you put them on the level of Arby’s or Burger King. I cannot speak for Moe’s, but Chipotle does try. It is one thing to challenge them to check their integrity and need for honesty (especially since they are dealing with a public that cares about what they are putting into their bodies), but the article seemed more like lashing back out of frustration about how difficult they made it. If we destroy the only and few places that are at least trying, we are going to loose ground. Let us serve instead to encourage honesty and real food.

  12. You know, I don’t know how you do it, Food Babe. I would probably be let down by the negative reactions to your investigations (some of them quite rude, I might add). So, first I commend your hard work and dedication, because some of us truly appreciate learning the ingredients unknowingly added to our food. Knowledge is always better than “bliss” in my opinion. We all have the power to decide what to do with the information or whether to read it in the first place. While I try my best, I know I probably eat some things I would rather avoid, but at least I learn and improve as much as I can with a limited budget. Anyway, the biggest thing I think people should take from these investigations is that we have a right to know what we are consuming! The more I learn about how much of this is hidden from consumers, the angrier I get. If some people are perfectly fine with consuming GMO foods, then they have every right. However, for those of us those want to avoid GMO, we should have that right also. Thanks again for your work – was waiting for this one and once again I am disappointed not only in the food, but in the companies that seem to purposely keep these ingredients hidden from the public.

  13. Thank you for the information. It’s good to know someone is out there spreading the truth and keeping these companies accountable for what they’re serving to the public. I am curious about about a restaurant that’s been popping up all over Columbus, OH (where I live), Northstar Cafe. Their website claims they use all locally grown/rasied, organic ingredients. I hope they’re as good as they make themselves out to be because their food is delicious!

  14. This is shocking! We don’t have a Moe’s; but, we do have Chipotle. I am curious to know how Freebirds stand up? We’ve been eating there more the last year or so.

  15. I have never liked Moe’s, so no shocker there. The claim of No MSG is dishonest, but perfectly legal in this country for some reason under those ingredients and is a problem much larger than Moe’s. truthinlabeling.org discusses this in length, and I have been trying to find out more about Trader Joe’s No MSG claim.

    As for Chipotle, I think you’re being a tad harsh on them. They don’t have the ingredient list posted on their website in extreme detail, but they are one of the few fast food restaurants making the effort to get better sourced ingredients for their food. It IS fast food, so I don’t expect every little thing to be 100% to Real Food standards, but they are making great strides toward getting naturally raised meats and better quality ingredients. We need to support the types of restaurants that make the efforts that are leading fast food to get better ingredients. According to their website, not everything they source meets their standards, but they are pushing suppliers more and more to meet their standards. Their beef is now 100% sourced with natural suppliers that meet their standards. They don’t claim it is GMO-free or organic, but naturally raised. Therefore, they are not trying to hide behind any claim.

    As far as their dairy, the 65% number is right there on their website:
    “100% of the sour cream we serve at Chipotle comes from pasture-raised cows. This means that cows have daily access to outdoor pastures, are never given added hormones, and are fed an all vegetarian, plant-based diet. In addition to our sour cream, 65% of our cheese is produced with pasture-raised dairy – a number that we are working hard to increase.”

    As far as white tortillas, well those were out anyways for not being whole grain, just like white rice. If I have to eat fast food, Chipotle is one of my best options for a burrito bowl or salad. It’s good to know the carnitas are completely without soybean oil. I know now exactly what I should order, and I choose to support Chipotle for leading the way. Hopefully, my support will continue to lead to better options (such as their recent addition of brown rice) and show other fast food restaurants how they can do it better. I agree that there is no reason for vitriol toward Chipotle when they are upfront and honest that not all of their food yet meets their standards, but they are working with as many local farms and naturally raised meat suppliers as they can. It’s a work in progress, and they fully admit that on their website.

    I would like to see a better ingredient list posted on their website, but it’s possible that due to their efforts toward food with more integrity that the ingredients potentially vary from location to location. Just a theory, but I would be curious as many here have posted variations, and their website claims variations from store to store based on local suppliers.

  16. Thank you so much for this post. I started a petition on Change.org last spring telling Chipotle that “food with integrity” should not contain hidden GMOs, but I wasn’t able to get a lot of signers. I guess I just don’t know enough people that care about real food! It’s good to see from your post and comments that more and more people are coming around. Maybe someone else can get through to them in a way that I wasn’t able to. For now, we stick with the carnitas with guacamole and lettuce and tomato salsa if we have to eat out (like when we are travelling). It would be so lovely to have a national chain that actually truly cared about real food and offering safe GMO free options for American diners.

  17. Thanks for all the hard work that obviously went in to this! I REALLY APPRECIATE YOUR EFFORTS and hope you’ll continue!

    1. I also wanted to tell you I posted a link to this article on my blog. I want my readers to be AWARE of what they’re eating, whether they agree with the potential harm or not! Thanks again to both you and to Lisa for all you do to support REAL FOOD!:)

  18. I appreciate the research and information for this most recent post. I, however, am a person who believes in moderation and will not eat this type of food every day or week. When we do eat out, we try and choose the best option (the lesser of two evils as you have put it). MSG does have side effects, but nothing conclusive from either side of the fence after reviewing many articles utilizing Google.

    And, shopping at Earthfare this weekend, I picked up the Earthfare brand peach ice cream (All Natural), and what do I see in the ingredient list – Natural Vanilla Flavor, an ingredient criticized in prior articles. Why can’t they just put vanilla in there? Soy lechtin was also in some of the crackers they had on the shelf.

    The fact is, preservatives are everywhere if we buy pre-packaged foods vs. growing and making our own. It’s about educating ourselves in this mass-produced society and trying to do every little bit to better our health and lives. Moderation, moderation, and exercise, exercise!

  19. Thank you so much for all the time you put in finding out what’s really in our “food”. If we have to eat out (in Charlotte) for lunch or dinner( i have two kids) on the go….what would you recommend? Thanks again!

  20. Great work lady. Thanks for the insights. Guess I won’t be advising the PTA to take kids on educational field trips to either of these spots in Charlotte. I think The Living Kitchen is on my radar. YUM!!!

  21. I must be from a different planet or something. I thought that the fed, years ago, made a law that restaurants had to have nutritional information available on request… and then places like McDonalds started to put them on packaging just to appear like they were good companies. I guess this is really only for the nutrition label and not ingredients?

  22. Thank you Food Babe and Lisa for all you do!! I really appreciate it!! However I wish this was written in a better tone it sounds like we are being horrible and crazy for choosing that food. Finally a lot of us can’t afford organic real food everything. I’m all for organic real food but paying 2-4 times as much isn’t in the budget..

  23. Food Babe is always such a downer. I feel so guilty after reading her posts. Reality bites I guess?!

    1. Yes, I agree…I feel like I can save Food Babe a lot of time on future articles…just don’t eat anywhere besides your own house. All restaurants are evil and will kill you. There, I did the work for her.

  24. Here again is another one sided slanted artical filled with assumptions and warped facts. The beauty of the internet, is it gives an audience to people to voice their positions regardless of how little digging or facts they have. The opportunity to present a balanced report was there, but was ignored because once again, the over lying fact is people will read crap like this only when it points to the world is crumbling. Are there areas of improvement for all these restaurants? Absolutely. Is your life in danger the next time you pass through a Chipolte set of front doors? Absolutely note. But giving a blanced report might not allow you the reader to stay interested. Frankly, if you present a balanced report you’d get more readers, and they might have more respect for the areas that these restaurants need to improve. However that would take more work, and we do not have time for that, as we have 1000’s of restaurants yet to belittle. I liken one sided articles like this to politics. Essentially you listen to the last idiot at the podium. Wait, let’s go to CNN and get the straight scoop on how the republicans are ruining the world. Hold on, lets go to Fox news and listen to how the democrates are killing all our senior citizens. Frankly I eat at both, the food is great and I will continue to do so. I will however stay away from Qdoba, those guys have terrible food.

    1. What is the other side then, David? Can you explain how GMOs and ingredients that are the same as those found in antifreeze are beneficial for me?

      What makes me sick is that all the testing and approvals say that these ingredients are used in such small doses that they can’t/don’t/won’t cause adverse side effects, but the problem is they are in so many of our foods that I believe the average person eats enough of these things that they can build up and have a negative impact on our overall health.

      Do I think companies like Chipotle and Moe’s are trying to give consumers healthier options? Yes. Do I think consumers have a right to know exactly what they are eating? Yes. I think the comment from the woman with severe soy allergies has a valid point. She can’t trust that beef is just beef and that it doesn’t have some soy-based additive that will give her a reaction. So, do I think questioning these companies and pushing them to change is a good thing? Absolutely!

      Keep up the good work, Food Babe!

    2. Your reply to this post has nothing to do with anything. If you want to complain on an article go on facebook. How do you know how many readers have read this article? Come on man!

  25. We appreciate all the hard work you do to expose the truth about what we eat. As suggested in the Omnivore’s Dilemma, we need to be aware of where our food comes from, and this article demonstrates we can’t trust anyone to tell us truthfully. I’m disappointed that the United States government and health organizations continue to protect business instead of the consumer by practically endorsing this sort of practice. And we wonder why the rates of obesity and cancer are what they are.

    Chipotle used to be the only fast food I would ever consider eating, but not anymore. Sticking to home cooked meals using farmer’s market organics.

    1. Thank you Zach – I appreciate the encouragement. I will definitely try Chipotle once they stop using GMO’s. I really believe that may be just around the corner – especially if California passes Prop 37. Let’s hope!

  26. I didn’t know this, but I’m not even slightly surprised. This is why I had to give up pretty much all restaurants after developing a soy allergy. They sneak that garbage into EVERYthing, including places where it has no business, like in grass-fed beef. Thanks for spreading the word; most people have no idea what they’re putting into their bodies.

    1. Wow Kitt – That must be a tough allergy for you. My acupuncture says I am sensitive to soy as well but I haven’t had any major reactions I am aware of…So I haven’t been forced to watch it. Do you mind sharing what happens to you?

      1. It isn’t too pretty, but fortunately for me it isn’t life-threatening. My throat swells up and closes to a point where it’s very difficult to breathe and impossible to speak, so I have to get to my EpiPen pretty fast. Then I have the non-life-threatening pleasure of hives and eczema all over my body and cystic acne all over my face until it’s totally out of my system, which takes about a week and a half. So I’m luckier than someone who would say, die from touching a peanut, but it’s absolutely miserable if I mess up so I’m done trusting it to people and places who don’t know what’s in their food.

        What happens to you with your sensitivity? Anything noticeable?

  27. I am sadden to see that Chipotle is like that, My boyfriend and I like to eat their due to being healthy, but once again I have been let down. I have a garden and we eat very natural, but I do like to eat out sometimes….are their really any place that we can eat that would not take us off our natural food lifestyle? If someone can guide me to a couple places I would be extremely happy!

  28. What do you mean by “GMO corn taco shells”? What GMO corn variety is sold for human consumption? What is the type of corn and the source of the information?

  29. I agree with the previous commenters who said the negativity in some of the posts in this series is a turn-off.

    Seriously, 65% of their dairy is from good sources and you are going to pick on the 35%? Are you aware of any other fast food chains where the majority of their dairy products are from hormone/antibiotic-free cows?

    You’re mad that 100% of their meat is not USDA certified organic? I buy only “good meat” from local farmers and none of it is certified organic. Chipotle in VA buys pork from Joel Salatin of Polyface Farms–that’s not organic, but I’d be ecstatic to eat it.

    Let’s not let the perfect become the enemy of the good. Chipotle is still a better option than pretty much any other fast food chain. And instead of greenwashing, it seems like they’re really trying–so let’s encourage them with our business instead of tearing them down.

    1. Rachel – Nope not mad at that per say… but disappointed they won’t willingly post their ingredients. I love Poly-face farms. I had a turkey from there a couple of thanksgivings ago. The post was not intended to praise any one restaurant – rather uncover things about their food that the general public are unaware of. GMOs are serious and deserves notable attention – especially if someone is eating at Chipotle, thinking it’s “healthy.”

  30. This is so sad, Moe’s was one of the last chain places that our family would eat out and I always praised them for being better than other places with their healthy example, BOY WAS I WRONG! We will not be eating there anymore! Thanks for exposing this!

  31. CALIFORNIA WAKE UP and VOTE YES ON 37 in NOVEMBER. PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD. It will be one way to take a stand.

  32. Yawn. I started visiting your website trying to eat healthy, but you all take it to a new level. Relax a little! Chipotle is not going to kill you or give you cancer. All this info just sounds like propaganda, trying to scare people into eating “your way”.

    1. It isn’t propaganda – it’s an ingredients list that Chipotle obviously tries very hard to keep hidden, given their “local” and “natural” marketing. It’s a “just so you know” for people who care, not a scare tactic. These are the facts – and if they sound scary, it’s because they are. Do you think FoodBabe made up the ingredients list or something? No, you won’t die tomorrow if you stop at Chipotle for lunch today, but I don’t think anyone is saying that. This blog is concerned with the health ramifications that may come from eating unnatural things. If it’s not your cup of tea, that’s fine. Take what you can use and leave the rest. Best way there is to use the internet.

  33. Interesting and somewhat disappointing article– proves that there is a lot of work to be done in the realm ‘healthy fast food.’ However, I would like to make one correction. It was stated that GMO soy/corn forms pesticides in your intestine, as it does in insects that eat it it is true that the toxin (known as Bt) kills the insects that eat it, but Bt has no effects on other organisms that would possibly spread a plant’s seeds instead of destroying the seed. Many other fruits and vegetables, if I am not mistaken, naturally have Bt in them for the reason stated above. When making such emotional and radical arguements, I believe it’s important to have the facts without any alarmist language or speculation.

  34. Well the good news is that I stopped eating the corn salsa at Chipolte because I just assumed it was GMO corn and now I know it’s not. The bad news is I also thought Moe’s was a healthier choice when out and about and I have just had that bubble burst…..so long Moe’s…..

  35. Good information, though I am surprised at level of frustration you felt during your investigation. I have not yet heard of any “fast food” restaurant that provides real food, quality food for someone who seeks to eat an unprocessed diet. I believe the only way to eat a fully unprocessed diet is to make the food at home, that way you will know what exactly is in the food and how it has been produced. It is my belief that any time you choose to eat out, you will have to choose the “less evil” option. It would be nearly impossible for a restaurant to provide fresh, organic ingredients at a price most people are willing to pay. That’s why we believe in the 80/20 rule and love us some Chipotle every now and then!

  36. It’s a journey folks. Chipotle embarked on this journey over a decade ago and decided to do things better. You can’t flip a switch and go all organic. You have to source the food and investigate. To think that after 50+ years of destroying our food chain that it can be fixed overnight is ridiculous. Think of your friends and families does everyone care about this as much as you or I, the overwhelming answer is no. Until more people vote w/ their fork to improve it, it will be slow going. So bashing companies that are trying to do the right thing, but can’t always because the sources aren’t there. That 65% will be 100% when it’s possible. Think about the millions of pounds of beans that Chipotle uses and if there were enough to supply us with 100% organic then it would happen. Sourcing locally, no other chain has an initiative to buy locally. If you want to focus on the negative then do so, but realize that in 9 years Chipotle went from 10% organic beans in 300 restaurants to 45% in 1300 restaurants, that’s huge and supports a lot of organic farmers.

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