For our last blog post, we were asked to choose a specific company and to search for critics or opponents who challenge that organization’s mission. For this week’s post, we were required to choose a company that someone wrote about last week and to investigate the other side of the story. Because we were asked to choose a company at the end of our three-hour class, my mind (and stomach) lit up once Chipotle was mentioned, so that’s what I went with.
Last week, though there were two blog posts written about Chipotle, there was one main issue that was discussed: the recent E. Coli outbreak that Chipotle was accused of being connected to. Just to provide some statistics, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as of December 2nd of last year, 52 people from nine states were sickened and of those, about 20 were hospitalized. Luckily, there were no deaths, but even so, this is still an issue that needed to be addressed. This was especially concerning because of Chipotle’s promise that they were providing their customers with “Food with Integrity,” which is clearly not the case. All that being said, I believe Chipotle was actually able to somewhat make up for it’s errors by delivering a press release in which they committed to “Becoming an Industry Leader in Food Safety.”
The press release outlined Chipotle’s new enhanced food safety program. Essentially, the program components include implementing high-resolution testing (that far exceeds requirements of state and federal regulatory agencies) of all fresh produce before being shipped to restaurants, testing ingredient samples to ensure that quality specifications are maintained throughout the shelf life of an ingredient, pursuing continuous improvements throughout its supply chain to enhance the ability to measure the performance of its suppliers, and enhancing internal training to ensure that all employees understand the company’s high standards for food safety and food handling. While this will not bring previous E. Coli victims back to health, I think that this quick and thorough reaction to the problem at hand was exactly how any company should have handled a situation like this.
According to the CDC, the E. Coli outbreaks “appear to be over,” which means that Chipotle has been keeping its promise to strive to become an “industry leader in food safety.” I also could not find any other information pointing to another outbreak since the press release. Even though there is no way I would ever stop eating at Chipotle, this news has restored the little bit of respect and faith I lost in the company after reading last week’s blog posts. However, that is my own opinion. Do any of you think Chipotle should’ve handled this situation differently?