why chipotle is getting its comeuppance for pandering to luddites

Chipotle tried to appeal to the most ardent anti-GMO activists. Now it’s paying the price.


Just like the most common advice to men and women is not to sleep with crazy, when Chipotle decided to pander to the anti-GMO crowd, the left’s version of ardent climate change denialists who don’t even want to let scientists conduct safety studies on modified crops, much less admit that they’re safe, someone should’ve told the company not to pander to anti-GMO hysterics. It was clearly a move to keep cash flowing from a younger, lefty demographic, and while the junk science in press releases and store signs proclaimed the chain GMO-free, the reality was that much of the feed used to raise the animals which would be used to make supposedly pure and natural tacos and burritos, was actually heavily genetically modified. Thanks to that technicality, there is now a high profile lawsuit accusing Chipotle of false advertising. While their food is not genetically modified, just as claimed, the ingredients that once used to move and make noises ate feed that was, therefore, the chain is still tainted and consumers who were told otherwise in the chains G-M-Over It ads were misled and falsely trusted the company with their health.

Much in the same way devout kosher Jews wouldn’t want to use a dairy spoon to eat beef stew, the people slavishly devoted to track all the world’s ills to GMOs and Monsanto, are not going to be happy that something modified in a lab may have come in contact with what’s on their plates and the chain is going to have to double down on its claims to keep their new customers. But to fight off the suit, they’re actually using real science, stating that eating something modified does not mean your genes will be modified in turn, and any claim otherwise is nonsense. And that’s a true statement. But then why exactly should GMOs be off the menu? What exact danger does a meal genetically modified pose to diners who won’t be absorbing its DNA, and which had to run through a gamut of tests to rule out any of the several million proteins identified as allergens or possible toxins? Oh, right, the danger of the scientifically ignorant told by businesses hawking a lot of overpriced “natural” and “organic” stuff running out the door in fear of GMO cooties.

Don’t feel bad for Chipotle because it’s getting its proper comeuppance for marketing to a vocal and dogmatic ideology after smelling easy money. Nothing a national chain that’s trying to feed millions of people a day does will ever be pure enough for paranoid zealots and to keep up this facade will only lose them time and money over the long term. They can expect more nuisance suits like this, high profile coverage of these suits, and many more laughing pundits like me who won’t hesitate to point out that they brought it on themselves. Gordon Gecko was right to a very certain extent when he proclaimed that greed is good in the world of business. But there’s a big and important corollary to that. Clever, calculated greed which seeks out new markets where to sell needed, wanted, and useful products is terrific. Knee-jerk, follow-the-crowd money grabs in a demographic better known for histrionics, hyperbole, and over-sized wallets is usually bond to backfire the second you fail to be as fanatical and dogmatic as them, which is not a matter of if, but when. You’ll get boycotted, and your greedy ways will yield the media a lot of mileage…

# science // business / gmo / luddism / marketing

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