Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Chipotle Faces Class Action Lawsuit Over ‘GMO-Free’ Advertising

Written by Katharine Richter

On August 28, 2015, Kaplan Fox & Kilsheimer LLP filed a class action complaint in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California against Chipotle Mexican Grill, Inc. The complaint claims Chipotle violated the “California Consumer Legal Remedies Act, the California False Advertising Law, and the California Unfair Competition Law” due to Chipotles claim of using non-GMO ingredients.  

According to the complaint filed, around April 27, 2015, Chipotle began advertising it was using only GMO free ingredients.  The complaint alleges this “was a strategic marketing campaign to entice new health-minded consumers and retain current ones.”  The complaint mentions the GMO free marketing was prominent, being featured on billboards, social media, and store fronts; chipotle even tweeted they were “’literally dropping’ the letter G, M, and O from their menu, including taking out the ‘O’ in ‘Chicken Burrito’…even though Chipotle knew that its meat products come from animals that consume GMO feed.”     

The complaint alleges that Chipotle’s claims it was GMO free were false, misleading and deceptive.  According to the complaint, Chipotle’s “omissions regarding the GMOs used in certain of the meat and dairy ingredients it uses in its Food Products, have been, and continue to be, material to consumers…and Defendant knows that its misleading representations are material in nature.”  After Chipotle launched the non-GMO advertising, it continued to use meat and dairy products from animals which were fed GMO products and soda containing GMOs.    

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