Chipotle sued for claiming to have GMO-free menu

Sept. 1, 2015

Chipotle Mexican Grill is facing a law suit filed on behalf of all California consumers who purchased food products from the chain between April 27, 2015 and the present. The lawsuit, filed by Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer, alleges Chipotle's marketing and advertising is deceptive and misleading given claims its menu does not contain genetically modified organisms.

Specifically, the complaint alleges Chipotle has marketed its "Food With Integrity" brand to 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 alleges that beginning on April 27, 2015, Chipotle launched a multi-media publicity campaign that advertised and represented to consumers that Chipotle was "G-M-Over it" and that it only uses "non-GMO ingredients." The complaint alleges Chipotle's claims are false and misleading to customers because Chipotle's menu was never free of GMOs at any time. It also alleges Chipotle serves meat products that come from animals which feed on GMOs, including soy and corn, that its sour cream and cheese ingredients come from dairy farms that feed animals with GMOs, and that Chipotle sells soft drinks that are made with corn-syrup — a GMO.

"Consumers today are very concerned about what they eat, and restaurants know that consumers place a premium on food that is considered to be healthy or natural," Laurence D. King, an attorney for the class action suit, said in a press release. "As a result, Chipotle's advertising in its stores should have accurately informed customers about the source and quality of its ingredients and should not mislead consumers that they are serving food without GMOs when in fact they are."

The complaint alleges violations of the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act, the California False Advertising Law, and the California Unfair Competition Law. The case, entitled Gallagher v. Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc., No. 15-cv-03952, is currently pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California. 

Chipotle did not respond to FastCasual.com’s request for comment as of press time.


Topics: Marketing / Branding / Promotion


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