Chipotle Mexican Grill is a “chain of restaurants in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, and France, specializing in burritos and tacos”. With the attractiveness of “fast casual food” restaurants emerging in America, Chipotle was, for the longest time, at the peak of their popularity. With a food business so dear to the hearts of many, the E. Coli outbreak linked to many of the chain’s outlets in Washington state and Oregon was a shock for all.
Those who have taken some sort of biology class may know that most strains of E. coli are harmless. Escherichia coli, the scientific name for the bacteria, can be found in the intestines of humans and animal. While some strains of the bacteria are necessary to a healthy intestinal tract, there are harmful strains that can cause severe stomach cramps, diarrhea (often bloody), and nausea. These strains are usually found in contaminated food or water and can spread through human contact.
Some may wonder how a business, such as Chipotle, that promotes healthy and organic ingredients end up leaving their customers with such an illnesses. It is because the company’s “use of fresh produce and meats rather than frozen, and [their] reliance on employees cooking with traditional methods rather than automation,” informs the Chipotle management. Organic foods are grown the conventional way of farming, which can lead the produce being contaminated by the fecal matter found in fertilizers, soil, etc. These all-natural methods in preparing the food lead to 43 outlets in Washington and Oregon had been closed
The news of Chipotle’s E. coli outbreak has many people upset and others unfazed. Fifty-nine percent of Apex High School students polled that they refuse to eat at Chipotle. The other forty-one percent could not care less about the company’s outbreak. Those who would continue to eat at Chipotle say the only people who should be alarmed are the customers living in states of Washington or Oregon. They also believe it is rash to give up something that has become a significant part of their lives.
On Nov. 10, Chipotle said they will reopen all the restaurants that they closed, despite the cause of the E. coli still being unknown. While Chipotle has had a rough couple of weeks, things are looking up, starting with their shares increasing by .45% on November 17.