Chipotle Mexican Grill's new GMO-free menu claims have lured diners and boosted the burrito chain's stock price, but it has some consumers crying foul.
A California woman has accused the popular chain in a lawsuit of false advertising after it trumpeted on April 27 that it was the first national restaurant company to use only ingredients that are free of controversial genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.
In her lawsuit filed Friday in federal court in San Francisco, the plaintiff Colleen Gallagher also alleged that Chipotle violated the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act because its food labeling is false and misleading, and deceived diners into paying more for their food.
"As Chipotle told consumers it was 'G-M-Over it,' the opposite was true," the Piedmont, California resident said. "In fact, Chipotle's menu as never been at any time free of GMOs."
Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold declined to discuss the allegations, but said "we do plan to contest this."
Many U.S. diners have in surveys expressed a willingness to pay a premium price for food they perceive to be less processed and more natural or organic, and retail data back that up.