PHOTO: STEVEN SENNE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
For anyone that may obtain access to my bank records over the past five years, they would see about as much occurrence of Chipotle popping up on my ledger about as Target popping up under my wife’s ledger. I went for one reason – it tasted good and it defined a relatively novel concept in the rapidly produced and customizable burrito. I always held my nose, and my breath, when being subjected to their trite and cynical marketing ploys to convince the world that they were somehow better and more morally righteous than their competitor down the street because they used more local ingredients (although not entirely local, which begs the question of: how much local is enough to make one virtuous?) and because they eschewed genetically modified foods.
Now arrives the comeuppance and the limits of that approach, as Chipotle finds out the hard way the challenges of managing quality and risk management of leveraging local suppliers in a large chain and mass production world. As much as Chipotle leadership has pilloried more industrial and centralized forms of food production, they now find themselves going back and applying some of its most profound economic lessons and virtues as they hurriedly scale back on their usage of local suppliers. Namely, these lessons are the benefits of productivity and innovation, which leads to lower cost foods, produced in a more safe and trackable manner and often times a more environmentally friendly manner than their small-scale counterparts.
Thus, I find it important to keep up with the scorecard since Chipotle used GMOs as a whipping boy for all that is wrong with food in America and to fear monger us all about “frankenfoods” in order to boost its own prices. I present the updated scorecard that helps us keep up with the ill effects of GMOs and how Chipotle is saving us from its malevolent forces:
Chipotle – 200+ illnesses due to E. Coli
Deaths due to Malnourishment in Children Under the age of 5 during 2013 – 3 Million
Deaths or illnesses due to GMOs – 0