Chipotle screwed up. Big time. And a quality control department with two techs and a decent tabletop sterilizer could have prevented it all.
Between August and December 2015, almost 500 across the U.S. people became ill from three different pathogens — E. coli, Salmonella, and norovirus — after eating at Chipotle locations. The company is getting a harsh lesson in food safety as December 2015 sales dropped 30%. The pressure is on for small farms supplying local Chipotle restaurants, but the geographic spread of those sickened by E. coli and Salmonella seem to indicate the source was a national supplier, where food is prepared (and tested) before being sent to the restaurant.
“Integrity” isn’t enough to protect people from microbes, but food safety protocols and testing are. The USDA needs better oversight of suppliers and restaurants. In the meantime, restaurants can protect their good name and the health of their customers with rigorous testing. Research grade tabletop sterilizers — like those offered by Priorclave — are already being used all over the world in the food industry to make sure ingredients are safe before supplies ship out and specials are dished up.
[Photo credit: Mike Mozart, CC BY 2.0]