Skip to main content

Schadenfreude Burrito

A few years ago Chipotle Mexican Grill used fear-based marketing to sell products.  They embarked on a "No GMOs in Our Food" policy that fueled a nationwide discussion, and delivered waves of customers wishing to trade their dollars for Americanized Mexican mediocrity. 

Back then the only thing Chipotle really had to change was corn tortillas and chips, sourcing them from non-GE sources.  Soy oil used in frying was replaced with non-GE equivalents.  Everything else in their menu was not GE.  Sort of.

The high fructose corn syrup or sugar in their sodas most certainly came from a GE plant, and the cheese was made enzymes obtained from GE microbes.  But the stuff with high margins was somehow okay. 


Chipotle's vapid campaign backfires as consumers and attorneys realize that there is money to be made in pointing out the inherent dishonesty in Chipotle's claims. 

Now Chipotle face a class action lawsuit because the stupid campaign failed to be completely honest, at least in the eyes of some extreme anti-GMO burritophiles.  

A set of plaintiffs argued in court that Chipotle did not source non-GMO meat or dairy products, and the judge agreed, allowing the compliant to proceed to trial.  Ha ha. 

Chipotle should have called me as a witness on this one.  There are no genetically engineered animals to make meat or milk, so consumers never actually consumed any GE anything.   They argue that the animals ate GE crops, and that imparts a magical science essence that somehow offends the palate. 

But while I feel that the judge is wrong and the lawsuit is frivolous, I'll smile and watch it unfold with my schadenfreude cup overflowing. 

Chipotle had major food safety issues and harmed many people.  Instead of focusing on careful standards and practices, they instead focused on vilifying a plant genetic improvement technique that has had sound consequences for farmers and the environment, especially in developing nations.  They contributed to the rhetoric of "technology bad" and indirectly limited the spread of good technology to the desperate people that face critical food insecurity. 

So while I disdain such lawsuits I'll make an exception here.  Yes, their campaign was stupid and they made money from it.  But nobody was harmed outside of overpaying for a big tortilla full of rice, beans and substandard burrito stuffins.

I am pleased that this is going forward, as it reminds us that you reap what you sow... if you make money with a campaign based on misguided fear, you will lose that money by people that are misguidedly afraid. 

Popular posts from this blog

Scientific American Destroys Public Trust in Science

This is a sad epitaph, parting words to an old friend that is now gone, leaving in a puff of bitter betrayal. 
When I was a kid it was common for my mom to buy me a magazine if I was sick and home from school.  I didn't want MAD Magazine or comic books.  I preferred Scientific American
The once stalwart publication held a unique spot at the science-public interface, bringing us interesting and diverse stories of scientific interest, long before the internet made such content instantly accessible.  It was our trusted pipeline to the new edges of scientific discovery, from the mantle of the earth to the reaches of space, and every critter in between.
But like so much of our trusted traditional science media, Scientific American has traded its credibility for the glitz of post-truth non-scientific beliefs and the profits of clickbait.The problem is that when a trusted source publishes false information (or worse, when it hijacked by activists) it destroys trust in science, trust in s…

Chipotle's Ag-vertising to Fix their Anti-Ag Image

After years of anti-farmer rhetoric, disgusting anti-agriculture videos, and trashing farmer seed choice, Chipotle now seems to have found a love for the American farmer that is as warm and inviting as the gooey core of a steak burrito.  Their new "Cultivate the Future of Farming" campaign raises awareness of the hardship being experienced in agriculture, and then offers their thoughts and some seed grants in order to reverse it. 

But are they solving a problem that they were instrumental in creating? 

The crisis in agriculture is real, with farmers suffering from low prices, astronomical costs, and strangling regulation.  Farmer suicides are a barometer of the crisis.  Farms, from commodity crops to dairies, are going out of business daily. It is good to see a company raising awareness. 


From Chipotle's website- The "challenge is real" and "It's a hard living"-- and companies like Chipotle were central in creating those problems. 

However, Chipotle&#…

Mangling Reality and Targeting Scientists

Welcome to 2019, and one thing that remains constant is that scientists engaging the public will continue to be targeted for harassment and attempted reputation harm.  

The good news is that it is not working as well as it used to.  People are disgusted by their tactics, and only a handful of true-believers acknowledge their sites as credible. 

But for those on the fence I thought it might be nice to post how a website like SourceWatch uses a Wikipedia-mimic interface to spread false and/or misleading information about public scientists. 

Don't get me wrong, this is not crying victim.  I'm actually is screaming empowerment.  I spent the time to correct the record, something anyone can check.  Please look into their allegations and mine, and see who has it right. 

This is published by the Center for Media and Democracy.  Sadly, such pages actually threaten democracy by providing a forum for false information that makes evidence-based decisions in policy issues more challenging.  It…