GMOs Are Becoming A Proxy For Bigger Concerns About The Food System

NPR goes to the Chipotle Cultivate Festival and learns that the anti-GMO movement is about a whole lot more than genetic modification: it’s a rejection of the agri-industrial complex:

The Chipotle Cultivate Festival in Kansas City on July 18 had it all: an indie pop band on stage, long lines at the beer booths. It was like a Grateful Dead concert, only with free burritos.

cultivate


But this and the three other Chipotle Cultivate events held across the country this summer were more than just a classic summertime music festival. Billed as offering “food, ideas and music,” the festival offers a chance to “learn a free burrito,” by going through four exhibits.

Chipotle, the chain whose slogan is “food with integrity,” was the first national restaurant chain to eliminate genetically modified ingredients from most of its menu. Now, the company is going a step further: using its anti-GMO stance as a marketing opportunity.

Alex Jessee, a young mother, went through the “GMO Experience,” one of the four exhibits. She says she learned from it “that these GMOs could be harmful to us, the environment, but they don’t necessarily have to tell us that we’re eating them. Which isn’t very cool.”

That perspective dovetails nicely with Chipotle’s marketing plan. And it’s the side more consumers are choosing, too: Surveys show the majority of consumers — as much as 93 percent, according to a New York Timespoll — want their food labeled with GMO information. That’s even though the world’s leading scientists say GMOs are safe.

“The marketplace is trying to sell what they believe consumers want. But what they want [non-GMO food] is already regulated [as organic food],” says Cathy Calfo, executive director of California Certified Organic Farmers…

[continues at NPR]

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