Foodservice Equipment Reports

Chipotle Doubles Down On Food Safety

After years of reporting the chain’s soaring sales, the headlines about Chipotle Mexican Grill these past few months have been stories about foodborne illness outbreaks involving cases of norovirus, E.coli and salmonella in more than a dozen states.  The Denver chain announced last week that it would close its more than 1,900 restaurants nationwide on Feb. 8 for a “national team meeting” as the company works to battle the ongoing fallout. All U.S. restaurants will be closed for lunch and will re-open at 3 p.m. in each time zone.

Chipotle will talk to its employees about its newly enhanced food safety and food handling procedures. The program's many components include:

  • High-resolution DNA-based testing of many ingredients designed to ensure the quality and safety of ingredients before they are shipped to restaurants--a testing program that far exceeds requirements of state and federal regulatory agencies, as well as industry standards.
  • Changes to food prep and food handling practices, including washing and cutting of some produce items (such as tomatoes and romaine lettuce) and shredding cheese in central kitchens, blanching of some produce items (including avocados, onions and limes) in its restaurants, and new protocols for marinating chicken and steak.
  • Enhanced internal training to ensure that all employees thoroughly understand the company's high standards for food safety and food handling.
  • Paid sick leave helping to ensure that ill employees have no incentive to work while ill.

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