Is it Safe to Eat at Chipotle?
Posted on Wednesday, January 20th, 2016 at 1:11 pm
One of the things that originally attracted people to Chipotle was its efforts to use the best ingredients that they could find. Those who needed to quickly grab food during their lunch break, and who wanted a healthy choice, went to Chipotle. Then, the news hit about people getting sick after eating at some of Chipotle’s restaurants. Is it safe to eat at Chipotle?
Chipotle was known for using real ingredients, and for cooking its food on-site. The Chipotle website states that it uses “vegetables grown in healthy soil and pork from pigs allowed to freely root and roam outdoors or in deeply bedded barns.”
Chipotle posted a Food Safety Update and FAQ on its website to discuss what happened that caused people who ate food from Chipotle to become sick. In October of 2015, Chipotle closed 43 restaurants in the Seattle, Washington, and Portland, Oregon, markets after being notified by health department officials in Seattle that they were investigating a number of E coli cases, including some affecting people who ate at 11 Chipotle restaurants.
Additional cases were reported in late November and early December of 2015 in California, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Illinois, and Maryland. On December 21, 2015, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention notified Chipotle that they were investigating 5 cases of E coli in Kansas, Oklahoma, and North Dakota. The people affected ate at 2 Chipotle locations in November of 2015.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has more information. It notes that Chipotle has taken the following actions, among others:
* Confirming that all microbial testing performed by the company did not yield E. coli (more than 2,500 tests of Chipotle’s food, restaurant surfaces, and equipment all showed no E. coli)
* Confirming that no employees in these restaurants were sickened from this incident
* Expanded testing of fresh produce, raw meat, and dairy items prior to restocking restaurants
* Implementing additional safety procedures, and audits, in all of its 2,000 restaurants to ensure that robust food safety standards are in place
* Working closely with federal, state, and local government agencies to ensure that robust food safety standards are in place
* Replacing all ingredients in the closed restaurants
* Conducted additional deep cleaning and sanitation in all of its closed restaurants (will conduct deep cleaning and sanitation additionally in all restaurants nationwide)
Chipotle is going to close all of its stores on February 8, 2016, for a national employee meeting to address food safety concerns and company changes. They have also instituted paid-sick leave for employees, so they can stay home when they are ill. Does this mean it is now safe to eat at Chipotle? Ultimately, everyone is going to have to decide that for themselves.