Big Props to Chipotle Mexican Grill
You can’t seem to look at the headlines without seeing NON GMO Chipotle Mexican Grille’s outbreak of E. coli, which has thus far affected 22 people. Thankfully none have died and we hope they all make a full recovery soon.
Unlike most fast food chains, where this inevitably happens, Chipotle Grill jumped into action closing their locations in Washington and Oregon, until they could figure out the problem.
They handled the situation like a boss.
We did a little digging and looked back at other E. coli outbreaks amongst fast food restaurant chains in recent years.
One example was the 2011 outbreak of salmonella at Taco Bell restaurants which allegedly spanned across ten states.
From the article (link below) on the subject:
(CBS) Taco Bell food may have sickened 68 people in 10 states during a salmonella outbreak in October 2011, according to a new report.
The CDC issued its “final update” on the outbreak on Jan. 19, in which it said some of the people who ate at “a Mexican-style fast food restaurant chain, Restaurant Chain A” were associated with salmonella illnesses.
Mexican-style fast food restaurant chain, Restaurant Chain A? Upon seeing the vague description of the outbreak’s source, editors from Food Safety News conducted their own investigation, eventually obtaining a document from the Oklahoma State Department of Health’s Acute Disease Service. The document tied the illnesses to exposure to Taco Bell food. Oklahoma was one of the 10 states which reported infections, along with Texas, Kansas, Iowa, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Mexico, Ohio, and Tennessee. Oklahoma’s 16 infections were second to Texas, which reported 43 people sickened by salmonella. No deaths were reported.
We are glad that no deaths were reported but that wasn’t the only outbreak for this GMO chain:
While the CDC still has not publicly identified the outbreak’s source, Taco Bell released a statement.
“The CDC has stated the public health is not at any risk and this incident is completely over,” Taco Bell said in a statement sent to HealthPop. “The CDC indicated that some of the people who were ill ate at Taco Bell, while others did not. They believe that the problem likely occurred at the supplier level before it was delivered to any restaurant or food outlet. We take food quality and safety very seriously.”
Taco Bell, did we miss an apology in there? Placing the blame elsewhere is typical, but perhaps you want to give a shout out to those people who were allegedly hospitalized because of your food?
To contrast, look what Chipotle Grill’s statement said:
Chris Arnold, Chipotle’s communications director, said in a public statement that people who got sick ate at 6 different Chipotle restaurants. “The safety and wellbeing of our customers is always our highest priority,” he said. “We offer our deepest sympathies to those who have been affected by this situation.”
Arnold said in the statement that once the company was notified of the outbreak, “we immediately closed all of our restaurants in the area out of an abundance of caution, even though the vast majority of these restaurants have no reported problems.”
Now that’s handling it like a boss.
Also call me a (health) nut but in the mainstream article linked below my bio it states that when Chipotle found out they were being investigated, they immediately disclosed the info. If Taco Bell was being investigated and they knew it, did they not do the same thing? I know Taco Bell has had restaurants close in at least one state before, but I am confused why an independent watch dog group had to pry with the CDC’s report to even find out the name of the generic unnamed restaurant. Things that make you go hmmm….
Taco Bell has been linked to two other outbreaks in the last six years, according toReuters. In 2006, the CDC said contaminated lettuce served at Taco Bell restaurants in the Northeast were the source of an E. coli outbreak that sickened 71 people. In 2010, Taco Bell was tied to a salmonella outbreak that sickened 155 people in 21 states.
The news has raised questions as to why the CDC did not disclose to the public that Taco Bell was suspected in the October 2011 outbreak, only to be named “Restaurant Chain A.”
“If there’s not an important public health reason to use the name publicly, CDC doesn’t use the name publicly,” Dr. Robert Tauxe, the CDC’s director of the Division of Foodborne, Waterborne and Environmental Diseases, told MSNBC. Tauxe said the CDC balances public health safety concerns with preserving cordial relationships with companies, because a lot of testing information the CDC obtains is voluntarily supplied by companies.
“We don’t want to compromise that cooperation we’ll need,” Tauxe said.
Look, we know this isn’t the CDC disclosing information on Chipotle and we know that not even Chipotle Grill is perfect (though some friends on my personal Facebook page have cried sabotage against the restaurant, I won’t go that far) but again, the way they jumped into action and voluntarily closed all their locations in those 2 states, shows what an ethical business can be like.
Unlike most fast food they have higher standards for their meat suppliers, have Vegan options and even respond to comments about why they may stop carrying certain items:
Chipotle recently stopped serving carnitas in many of our restaurants. This shortage occurred because our animal welfare auditors found one of our suppliers to be violating some of Chipotle’s core animal welfare standards, and we suspended all purchases from this supplier. This meant we were unable to supply more than one-third of our restaurants with carnitas.
Unfortunately, finding a new supply to replace the pork from the suspended supplier was not easy. There are very few farmers who raise animals in a way that meets our requirements—this is especially true when it comes to pigs. In the United States, around 95% of pigs are raised “conventionally.” Raising pigs in this conventional system can be particularly brutal for the animals. They are raised indoors, in densely crowded conditions with little or no bedding. Most live on slatted metal floors that allow their waste to collect beneath them in liquefied pools. Mother pigs are often kept for months at a time in metal crates so tiny that they cannot turn around.
When faced with a choice between serving conventional pork in some of our restaurants or nothing at all, we chose to not serve carnitas at all.
Food for thought my friends. Food for thought….
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