"Chipotle claims they're taking this anti-GMO action to responsibly raise the bar.  I'd like to rephrase that claim just a little bit.  I think they've been standing irresponsibly at the bar for far too long and the public needs to administer a field sobriety test." - Chuck Jolley

Chipotle has become the dearly beloved of the 'healthier eating than thou' foodies. Soaring same store sales show they are blindly buying into that quick service restaurant chain's noble-sounding press: only the purest of foods, minimal ingredients, meat from only the most pampered of animals, and absolutely no GMOs. 

It's all cleverly designed to make their patrons feel noble about chowing down on foods that are just as healthy as what they might buy at McDonalds or even Taco Bell.  They're making a big deal out of peddling science-free health claims; a huge, sleight-of-hand splash over here to mask what they are not doing over there. It's the kind of bogus magic act that Penn & Teller have made a career in exposing.

No GMOs?  Yeah, the trendy but ill-informed food fan will applaud and rush to buy a beefy burrito, confident in the belief that she is doing the right thing to protect her family from the ravages of a scary sounding genetically modified organism.  No matter that billions of meals have been served for decades using ingredients that have been genetically modified by scientists in the lab instead of by Mother Nature in the field and no ill-effects have ever been recorded.

That ever-worried helicopter mom is so busy paying attention to the fears stirred up by that GMO non-issue that she's forgetting about some things that might have some real detrimental impact on family health. The deadly long- and short-term effects of those things have been well documented.

A man by the name of Peter Talbott emailed MorningNewsBeat, a daily e-newsletter to the retail trade, to flag the real issue Chipotle hopes no one will notice.  After reading about the recent GMO ban, he wrote: "Fascinating to me how we fawn over Chipotle.  If I told you there was a restaurant in your neighborhood that (according to the New York Times this week), had an average order of 1070 calories, 2400 mg of sodium, and 75% of the daily recommended intake of saturated fat, you wouldn’t even ask what it was called…."

Yeah, it would be called Chipotle: no GMOs but all the fats, calories and sodium that you've come to love and expect from every other QSR on your neighborhood restaurant row.  Over-consumption of all three items have been absolutely proven to be harmful.  Sit on a sidewalk bench on any street in America and count the abundant bellies on the passers-by, You'll understand the full meaning of 'bellying up to the bar.'

Chipotle proclaims the purity of their products with high-profile commercials and noble-sounding press releases that become unpaid news items, unchecked by any honest fact-checker.  They hide their damning calorie/sodium/fat content in small type at the bottom of their menu.  If they played both equally, I think they understand that they would be just another small-time taco peddler struggling to gain a foothold in their home town market.

Speaking of bars, Chipotle claims they're taking this anti-GMO action to responsibly raise the bar.  I'd like to rephrase that claim just a little bit.  I think they've been standing irresponsibly at the bar for far too long and the public needs to administer a field sobriety test. 

Here are the facts: the Nutrition Page on their web site says, "Recommended limits for a 2,000 calorie daily diet are 20 grams of saturated fat and 2,300 milligrams of sodium. A 2,000 calorie daily diet is used as the basis for general nutrition advice; individual calorie needs, however, may vary."

I built a burrito on that site - Barbacoa, white rice, black beans, cheese, sour cream and guacamole.  The Chipotle-generated data said I was about to consume 1,245 calories with 551.5 from fat, 135 mg of cholesterol, 2,950 milligrams of sodium, 188 grams of carbs, 24.5 grams of dietary fiber, 4 grams of sugar and 51.5 grams of protein.  Add a drink and I've blown my 2,000 calorie daily diet for about a day-and-a-half.  Thankfully, though, I probably didn't ingest any of those evil GMOs.