Friday, April 19, 2024

E.coli spells trouble for Chipotle

Many news releases in Oregon linked forty recent E.coli cases to Mexican restaurant chain Chipotle. The Oregon Health Authority (OHA) said Washington health representatives as well as the OHA are currently investigating the E.coli outbreak.

Fortunately for Plattsburgh Chipotle lovers, this outbreak has only recently affected the northwest region of the U.S. Forty-three Chipotle restaurants have closed in Washington and Oregon because of the health crisis, according to New York Daily News. Two people have sued over the sickening effects of the E.coli bacteria connected with Chipotle’s food, and stocks in the company have recently dropped.

I’ve still never been to Chipotle, but from what I’ve heard, people love to eat there. Many just choose to avoid the foods that the E.coli microorganism has affected. The Chipotle in Plattsburgh, which opened in the spring of 2014, has still managed to maintain a 4-star rating on the location’s Yelp page.

Steve Ells, the chairman and co-CEO of Chipotle, made a statement on Nov. 3, saying, “The safety of our customer and the integrity of our food supply has always been our highest priority.” After all, the company’s official slogan, “Food With Integrity”, is a big part of their reputation and branding.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently testing samples of Chipotle’s food to determine where the bacteria are coming from, according to Capital Press, an agriculture news source. Produce samples of ingredients such as lettuce, tomato and cilantro are being examined in an FDA lab near Seattle.

These health outbreaks are steadily increasing, but because of the recent advancements in technology, detecting bacteria is easier ,and we are finding more cases. Studies have also shown that if the produce is imported, it has a higher risk of possible contamination. If our methods of technology can detect these things more easily, food product suppliers should be able to take preventative measures with food against these health outbreaks.

Although some suppliers don’t adhere to health standards, many domestic farmers follow voluntary food safety programs to sell their products at restaurants and grocery stores, and now health officials are pushing for it to become federal law. Often restaurants won’t know how produce is handled or under what kind of conditions the food was grown when they receive it.

Capital News had also reported in August that there had been a Minnesota-based outbreak of salmonella linked to Chipotle’s tomatoes. It seems that lately more companies promoting the quality of their food are coming under fire for these health concerns.

Chipotle is one among many other health food companies, grocery stores and restaurants that have taken a beating for the public’s outcry over their food products or the price of these items. Even food corporations like McDonald’s or Burger King, with already tarnished “healthy food” reputations have stayed afloat during health crises concerning bacteria found in food.

With how many people that are served Chipotle each day and the mere 40 outbreaks of E.coli, I’d say they have a pretty fair chance at bouncing back and reopening their stores. Health officials warn they want to find the source of the E.coli before the closed Chipotle restaurants are opened again.

Unless people begin to die or develop life-threatening illnesses, the reputation Chipotle has built up will serve them well. Food, even organic or pesticide-free, is always getting contaminated, and for the amount of people this one has affected, this will blow over fast for the company unless something more severe pops up.

Email Anne McLean at

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