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Shady libertarian front group run by industry shill is now Monsanto's attack dog with hit piece on Chipotle


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(NaturalNews) A new propaganda blitz leveled against Chipotle's fast-casual restaurant chain claims that anyone who frequents the GMO-free healthy food store will actually pack on the pounds over the course of a year.

As reported by the New York Post, the aggressive campaign warns patrons that they'll end up like the bare-chested obese pitchman, whose fat rolls are anything but appealing.

The campaign launched with an expensive full-page ad in the Post in recent days, but a bigger question is who came up with the funding for the campaign, which includes mention of a web site, ChubbyChipotle.com.

The Post noted that some were speculating a Chipotle competitor such as McDonald's or Wendy's might be behind the propaganda, but the libertarian-leaning nonprofit organization claiming responsibility, the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF), said in a statement to the paper, "There is no single company or industry paying for the campaign."

The PR firm is led by longtime Washington, D.C., lobbyist Richard Berman, who also operates another firm, Berman & Co. CCF was started in 1996 "to take on activists from all walks of life, including the Humane Society of the United States, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals and even Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, the driving force behind the Big Apple's smoking ban and other health initiatives."

Attacked for doing the right thing

Chipotle is in CCF's crosshairs because the restaurant dares to serve GMO-free, antibiotic-free options that are healthier than other fast-food chains such as McDonald's, whose fattening fare was front and center in the 2004 documentary film Super Size Me.

"Chipotle is all about marketing itself as a feel-good, healthy company. They are pulling the wool over people's eyes," said Will Coggin, the CCF's director of research.

Meanwhile, the Post reported, a Chipotle spokesman defended the company and called the propaganda effort a "ridiculous smear campaign."

When Chipotle first announced it would stop using antibiotic-fed meats and GMO vegetables, Natural News was among the first to praise the chain's decision, when it announced:

Our goal is to eliminate GMOs from Chipotle's ingredients, and we're working hard to meet this challenge. For example, we recently switched our fryers from soybean oil to sunflower oil. Soybean oil is almost always made from genetically modified soybeans, while there is no commercially available GMO sunflower oil. Where our food contains currently unavoidable GM ingredients, it is only in the form of corn or soy.

We also were among the first to report the anticipated backlash for its decision from the usual Monsanto-supported suspects in the mainstream media, and we didn't have to wait long for vindication.

Not so "libertarian"

Shortly after the decision, citing Independent Science News, we listed a number of examples of Chipotle coming under fire for being irrational, anti-science and irresponsible from the likes of The Washington Post, The Motley Fool, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times and other legacy media, all of which depend on big advertising dollars from GMO king Monsanto, agri-business interests and every eatery that serves GMO foods.

All of this occurred because the company made a decision to change its food ingredients, which is something businesses used to be free to do without criticism.

The Washington Post's critique was typical of most of the other published critiques:

In nevertheless validating the panic that has led to limits or bans on GMOs in developing nations, Chipotle says "we decided to remove the few GMOs in our food so that our customers who choose to avoid them can enjoy eating at Chipotle." In other words, the anti-GMO lobby has scared people, and burritos can be sold by pandering to these fears. Alas, the company's marketing instinct, in this respect, is unerring.

The "libertarian" CCF (so much for free markets and free choice, right?), which has proven itself quite controversial, is also the subject of an expose web site, ConsumerDeception.com, which claims it was started with a $600,000 donation from tobacco giant Philip Morris and has also been known to have received funding from Wendy's, White Castle and Tyson Foods, among others.

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