GMO or No?

Chipotle sued


A California woman, Colleen Gallagher, filed a lawsuit in September against the burrito chain Chipotle for making misleading claims about selling only foods that are free from genetically modified organisms (GMOs). The chain certainly does make specious claims about the safety of GMOs, but that is not what Gallagher is suing over.

Citing a fringy claque of "researchers," Chipotle denies the broad and strong scientific consensus that genetically modified foods are safe to eat and fine for the environment. In 2014 the U.S. Department of Agriculture debunked the claim, which the company has parroted, that biotech crops result in more pesticide spraying. In reality, herbicide use peaked in 1981—15 years before the first such crops were introduced—and insecticide treatments peaked in 1972. While the company certainly has the right to offer whatever products it believes its customers want, it is plainly violating its own pledge to sell "food with integrity."

Gallagher meanwhile asserts that Chipotle is using dubious labeling practices to fool diners into paying more for their food. In her suit, she notes that Chipotle sells soft drinks that contain sweetener made from biotech corn and meat from animals fed with biotech grain. It is apparently not enough for her that the company admits these exceptions to its unscientific anti-GMO marketing campaign on its website. Bottom line: Chipotle does mislead its customers, but not chiefly for the reasons asserted in this silly lawsuit.