It does beg the questions:  Why were you not doing all of these things BEFORE the E. coli Outbreak AND the Norovirus outbreak AND Salmonella outbreak?

press_release-01On the heels of an E. coli incident that was linked to eight of its restaurants in Oregon and Washington state, Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG) has taken a number of immediate steps to assist investigators as they conduct their review of the incident in Oregon and Washington. Among the specific actions the company has taken since the incident began are:

  • Immediately closing 43 restaurants in Oregon and Washington state out of an abundance of caution, even though only eight restaurants have drawn concern, while investigators search for a cause;
  • Conducting additional deep cleaning and full sanitization (sic) of its restaurants in the area;
  • Conducting environmental testing in its restaurants, and food testing in its restaurants and distribution centers in addition to testing being conducted by health department officials;
  • Replacing all food items in the restaurants we closed, out of an abundance of caution;
  • Batch testing some ingredients before resupplying;
  • Continuing to help in the investigation; and
  • Retaining two preeminent food safety consulting firms (including Seattle-based IEH Laboratories and Consulting Group) to help the company assess and improve upon its already high standards for food safety.

“The safety of our customers and integrity of our food supply has always been our highest priority,” said Steve Ells, chairman and co-CEO of Chipotle. “We work with a number of very fresh ingredients in order to serve our customers the highest-quality, best-tasting food we can. If there are opportunities to do better, we will push ourselves to find them and enhance our already high standards for food safety. Our deepest sympathies go out to those who have been affected by this situation and it is our greatest priority to ensure the safety of all of the food we serve and maintain our customers’ confidence in eating at Chipotle.”

While no cause has yet been identified by investigating health officials, Chipotle continues to work swiftly and thoroughly with health department officials as they look to conclude this investigation.