Chipotle is seriously having a terrible, no good, very bad year.
Last summer, Chipotle was the center of an E.coli and norovirus outbreak, which not only was a huge blow to chain's reputation but it also cost them $60 million in free food in an attempt to make amends. Chipotle also was recently sued after one of it's employees said she was sexually harassed by all four of her managers.
And now a federal judge greenlit a lawsuit against Chipotle over genetically modified foods, according to the Wall Street Journal. It's a class action lawsuit that was filed last summer around the time Chipotle was dealing with the food contamination. The class action accuses the fast casual restaurant of deceiving it's customers by advertising that their ingredients are GMO-free even though they still serve items that may contain GMO materials.
The suit, filed by a Leslie Reilly of Florida, says the "meat and dairy products that come from animals that consume GMO feed are in fact GMO products" which should negate any GMO-free claims made by Chipotle. The chain, however, finds this line of thinking ludicrous.
Chris Arnold, spokesman for Chipotle, claims that the lawsuit is "meritless" and that while the meat Chipotle serves may be fed GMO grains that doesn't make that the "meat is GMO, any more than people would be genetically modified if they ate GMO grains."
Chipotle also claims on their website that they're looking to limit GMO feed as much as possible, too.
Seriously. We're not sure what deity Chipotle pissed off, but they may want to look into making amends. In some ways this class action feels like splitting hairs, but it's an interesting debate. If an animal eats GMO grain, does that mean we should consider the animal genetically modified? If you consume GMO materials or an animal that has eaten GMO materials, does that mean you're now GMO?
Either way, this lawsuit moving forward is another slap in the face of Chipotle which is having an absolutely horrendous year. When will it end?
Chipotle sign photo by Mike Mozart