Chipotle to close restaurants briefly Feb. 8 for evaluation


Alex Wang

E. Coli Emergency Chipotle’s bowl optino is an alternative to burritos for the customers who prefer healthier choices. The recent disease outbreaks in Chipotle stores have contributed to Chipotle’s decision to close stores on Feb. 8.

by Alex Wang, Reporter

Chipotle will close its restaurants across the nation on Feb. 8 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. to hold a meeting for the whole company in order to discuss food safety and the recent incidents. In an effort to polish its image after recent food poisoning incidents, Chipotle is taking stricter measures on ensuring the safety of its food.

The incidents occurred last August in Minnesota, where a salmonella outbreak affecting 64 customers was traced back to Chipotle restaurants in the state. This was followed by a norovirus outbreak in California, which sickened about 100 people. Subsequently, an E. coli outbreak took place in the states of Washington and Oregon, affecting 53 people as it spread through multiple states. Norovirus and E. coli outbreaks appeared again in November and December.

Director of Health Services at Harker Debra Nott found the source of the virus to be unexpected.

“Originally, I was surprised to discover that they traced it quickly to vegetables,” Nott said. “Ordinarily, you expect E. coli to be in meat products that have not been heated to the proper temperature.”

The incidents and the fear of outbreaks have led some students to stop eating food from Chipotle restaurants.

“Normally, when I go hiking and wildlife-viewing in remote places, Chipotle is one of the only options available on the highway, especially for vegetarians, but because of the outbreak, it’s not an option anymore,” Venkat Sankar (11) said.

Following the incidents, Chipotle is raising its food safety standards, and has promised an explanation of the causes of the incidents. It is also offering more free food in its giveaways and rewards, which vary among the different restaurant locations.

The company is set to debut a new marketing campaign in February after the company-wide meeting.

This piece was originally published in the pages of The Winged Post on January 27, 2016.