Chipotle Moves Aggressively to Address Issues in Washington and Oregon
Company voluntarily closes restaurants; replaces food; cooperates fully with investigation
DENVER - (BUSINESS WIRE) - Nov. 3, 2015 - On 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 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.
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.
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