Chipotle investigation with CDC & FDA continues; no illnesses have
occurred as a result of exposure occurring after early November, but
additional cases may be reported as states get data to federal agencies
DENVER--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Dec. 4, 2015--
Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG) has taken aggressive actions to
implement industry-leading food safety and food handling practices in
all of its restaurants and throughout its supply chain. Its enhanced
food safety program will establish Chipotle at the forefront of food
safety protocols in the restaurant industry.
"While Chipotle’s food safety practices were already well within
industry norms, I was asked to design a more robust food safety program
to ensure the highest level of safety and the best quality of all meals
served at Chipotle,” said Mansour Samadpour, Ph.D., CEO of IEH
Laboratories and Consulting Group. “I am happy to report that our
proposed program was adopted in its entirety, without any modification.
While it is never possible to completely eliminate all risk, this
program eliminates or mitigates risk to a level near zero, and will
establish Chipotle as the industry leader in this area."
Work on Chipotle’s enhanced food safety program began immediately after
reports surfaced at the end of October that linked 11 Chipotle locations
in Washington and Oregon to E. coli cases in those states. Even though
there is no evidence of exposures after the period of October 13 to
November 7, and no new illnesses have occurred since then, officials at
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have indicated that
additional cases may yet be reported as cases make their way through
various state health departments to the federal health officials.
Specifically, Chipotle has set an objective to achieve the highest level
of safety possible. The company retained Seattle-based IEH Laboratories
to help it identify opportunities to enhance food safety practices
throughout its operations – from the farms that supply its food to its
restaurants that prepare and serve it.
Chipotle’s enhanced food safety program is the product of a
comprehensive reassessment of its food safety practices conducted with
IEH Laboratories that included a farm-to-fork assessment of each
ingredient Chipotle uses with an eye toward establishing the highest
standards for safety. Specifically, program components include:
Implementing high-resolution testing of all fresh produce in which a
series of DNA-based tests will 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.
Initiating end-of-shelf-life testing where ingredient samples will be
tested to ensure that quality specifications are maintained throughout
the shelf life of an ingredient.
Pursuing continuous improvements throughout its supply chain using
data from test results to enhance the ability to measure the
performance of its vendors and suppliers.
Enhancing internal training to ensure that all employees thoroughly
understand the company’s high standards for food safety and food
Thousands of food sample tests from Chipotle restaurants linked to the
incident have shown no E. coli. No ingredients that are likely to have
been connected to this incident remain in Chipotle’s restaurants or in
its supply system. No Chipotle employees have been identified as having
E. coli since this incident began.
“When I opened the first Chipotle 22 years ago, I offered a focused menu
of just a few things made with fresh ingredients and prepared using
classic cooking techniques,” said Steve Ells, chairman and co-CEO of
Chipotle. “We do the same thing today, even with nearly 2,000
restaurants, and we are working harder than ever to ensure that our food
is safe and delicious.”
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are
about 48 million cases of food-related illness in the U.S. annually,
including 265,000 cases of E. coli.
Since this incident began, Chipotle has continued to serve more than 1
million customers a day in its restaurants nationwide without incident.
Additional information about this incident is available online at
Steve Ells, founder, chairman and co-CEO, started Chipotle with the idea
that food served fast did not have to be a typical fast food experience.
Today, Chipotle continues to offer a focused menu of burritos, tacos,
burrito bowls (a burrito without the tortilla) and salads made from
fresh, high-quality raw ingredients, prepared using classic cooking
methods and served in a distinctive atmosphere. Through our vision of
Food With Integrity, Chipotle is seeking better food from using
ingredients that are not only fresh, but that—where possible—are
sustainably grown and raised responsibly with respect for the animals,
the land, and the farmers who produce the food. In order to achieve this
vision, we focus on building a special people culture that is centered
on creating teams of top performers empowered to achieve high standards.
This people culture not only leads to a better dining experience for our
customers, it also allows us to develop future leaders from within.
Chipotle opened with a single restaurant in 1993 and operates more than
1,900 restaurants, including 17 Chipotle restaurants outside the US, 11
ShopHouse Southeast Asian Kitchen restaurants, and is an investor in an
entity that owns and operates three Pizzeria Locale restaurants. For
more information, visit Chipotle.com.
View source version on businesswire.com: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20151204005113/en/
Chris Arnold, 303-222-5912