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Chipotle Sued for Using GMOs After Declaring Its Food GMO-Free

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The chain is now facing a class action lawsuit.

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Popular burrito chain Chipotle, which proudly declared it is completely GMO-free in April, is being sued over alleged use of GMOs. According to CBS, a class action lawsuit has been filed in San Francisco against the Colorado-based company claiming that Chipotle has been using GMOs — or genetically modified organisms — in its food "despite advertising that it is GMO-free."

Chipotle plans to contest the lawsuit.

The lawsuit — which has been filed on behalf of all California consumers who purchased Chipotle after April 27, 2015 — further alleges that Chipotle's menu has never been completely GMO-free. The lawsuit says that the restaurants serve popular soda brands which make their drinks with corn syrup — an ingredient which is often made with GMO corn. CBS writes that Chipotle has made a disclaimer in the past saying that there is "not much it can do about genetically modified feed given to animals" the chain uses for its food. Previously, the chain claimed that except for a few items such as its tortillas, the majority of the menu was already GMO-free.

A press release from the law firm behind the suit alleges that Chipotle is financially deceiving customers with its claims: The chain is ripping off "healthy-lifestyle and environmentally conscious consumers who are willing to pay premium prices for food that aligns with the consumers' ethical eating choices." The lawsuit is seeking monetary damages. Eater reached out to Chipotle for comment, and spokesperson Chris Arnold replied, "As a matter of policy, we don't discuss pending legal action, but we do plan to contest this."

Update 9/1/15: Arnold gave Forbes a longer comment on the lawsuit.

"The lawsuit is ‘meritless,' and ‘filled with inaccuracies,' he said in an email. ‘Chipotle has always been honest and transparent with its customers, and the messaging surrounding our use of non-GMO ingredients is no exception.'... He said that while the meat Chipotle serves is from animals fed GMO grains, ‘that does not mean that our meat is GMO, any more than people would be genetically modified if they ate GMO grains.'"

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