One national chain is going to see some price increases as they move away from genetically modified foods.

While the Tri-Cities doesn't have a Chipotle Mexcian Grill  (the closest location is on North Division St. in Spokane),   some consumer prices at the restaurant chain are expected to rise between 3-5% in the next year.

It's largely because the company said in a recent report they will be moving away from GMO's -genetically modified - oils using in cooking.  While the report showed strong growth and sales for Chipotle,   the company said they are going to change from using GMO soy oil to non-GMO sunflower and other type products.

No specific reason was given for the change, but many experts believe companies are bowing to pressure from special interest groups who claim GMO foods are not as healthy.

As much as 70% of the processed foods in your grocery stores are genetically modified, and have been since the early 1980's.   Federal guidelines exist for standards, food labeling and other areas of GMO foods.      Study after study has proven the long-term affects of eating GMO foods is largely UNKNOWN.

However, especially over the last few years, there has been a growing campaign from special interest groups who are incessantly trying to portray GMO foods as unhealthy and unsafe despite the lack of  conclusive evidence to the contrary.

Genetically modifying foods has allowed for better quality more affordable products to be offered by producers, thereby keeping costs lower for the consumer.   It's not surprise that many non-GMO foods are more expensive, but do appeal to some consumers.   The Chipotle price rise has been pointed out by the NO on I-522 Food Labeling campaign.   They say the restaurant price shift is yet another example of how non-GMO foods cost consumers more.   They object to the I-522 proposal, which would create a brand new state labeling system for all foods sold in stores that they say would raise prices for farmers and consumers.

While the health debate of GMO foods remains wide open,   one can draw the conclusion that the reason GMO foods remain more affordable than most non-GMO foods is because they have worked so well.   Genetically modifying foods to be more resistant to disease, pests, and often boosting nutritional value has allowed them to be consistently more affordable. Do a price comparison yourself the next time you go shopping.

We will find out in November just how important the GMO issue is to consumers as they decide yay or nay on I-522, whether to approve or reject the new food labeling system.

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