CHIPOTLE - BAD MEXICAN



CHIPOTLE   LOSES AGAIN





They Are Back And Sickening Again  —  Chipotle employees say managers still ‘ Cut corners,’ putting food safety at risk, A consumer group found that some of Chipotle’s food-handling practices don’t align with its mission.  

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 27:  he story begins…Chipotle restaurant workers fill orders for customers on the day that the company announced it will only use non-GMO ingredients in its food on April 27, 2015 in Miami, Florida. The company announced, that the Denver-based chain would not use the GMO’s, which is an organism whose genome has been altered via genetic engineering in the food served at Chipotle Mexican Grills. 

When a series of foodborne illness scares forced Chipotle stores to adapt upgraded food-handling procedures in 2015, the burrito chain’s founder Steve Ells declared that his restaurants would soon “ Be the safest place to eat.” 

Five years later, however, nearly 50 current and former Chipotle employees based in New York have said current managerial practices are putting proper food safety procedures on the back burner and consumers may be at risk.

On Thursday, the nonprofit consumer advocacy group National Consumers League published a report about New York City-based Chipotles failing to comply with food safety standards. The NCL’s executive director Sally Greenberg, who co-authored the report, told TODAY Food the league interviewed 47 current and former workers throughout 2019 at 25 locations around the city.


Steve Els Founder And Flounder Of Chipotle —

Steve Ells (born September 12,1965) is an American businessman. He is the founder, former CEO, and Executive Chairman of Chipotle Mexican Grill. Ells founded Chipotle in 1993, and under his direction,  the chain serves what it describes as “naturally raised meat" and promotes sustainable agriculture.

On November 29, 2017, Chipotle announced Ells' resignation as CEO, pending the search for a new CEO with "turnaround expertise". Ells will serve as executive chairman following the appointment of a new CEO, and will also serve on the CEO search committee. Brian Niccol became CEO of Chipotle Mexican Grill in February 2018. On March 6, 2020, Ells resigned as chairman and left the board of directors, breaking his final ties to the company.  (Cheers were heard from many locations)

The series of outbreaks not only sickened thousands and provided the government with fodder for criminal charges, it saw the end come for the founder and CEO of the company, Steve Ells. He pledged from the beginning to provide wholesome, natural food sourced in a sustainable fashion. The outbreak scandal saw his company’s stock drop to less than half its value and was the writing on the wall for Ells.

As part of the agreement with the federal government, Chipotle’s leaders agreed the company would “develop and follow an improved, comprehensive food safety compliance program.”

Chipotle has agreed to work with its “Food Safety Council” to evaluate its food safety audits, restaurant staffing, and employee training, among other areas, to mitigate the issues that led to the outbreaks.


Nothing Like Hands On Food -  With Gloves

But How Long Has It Sat Exposed?



How Chipotle Is Luring Back Customers After Food Safety Issues — Many of the employees said they received sub-par training and often felt pressure from management to work quickly and cut costs, even if it compromised food safety.

Complaints ranged from pressure to work even when they felt sick (including one person who alleged that they vomited during their shift but still had to work), being forced to serve undercooked chicken to customers, using the same cutting boards to cut raw meat and vegetables during rush hour times, working through breaks and having to clean bathrooms without "proper protection equipment."

“We chose to blow the whistle on these practices and abuses because our Chipotle managers did not listen to us,” Jeremy Espinal, a Chipotle worker, said. “It’s a pressure-packed workplace where supervisors intimidate you and retaliate against you.”


Chipotle Customers: Charging Them Hundreds Of Dollars In Fake Orders 

While the report stated many of these pressures stemmed from managerial incentives to make bonuses for cutting costs and increased production, Chipotle's chief reputation officer Laurie Schalow told TODAY the quarterly bonus infrastructure is for all employees (not just managers) and cannot be earned without following food safety procedures.

Following nationwide outbreaks of foodborne illnesses in 2015, 2016 and 2018, Chipotle has been working hard to climb back into its customers good graces (minus a few National Avocado Day flops) with initiatives marketing its food as fresh, healthy and, most importantly, safe to eat.  ( 👺Corpo Guano Bullsh*t) 

In 2016, Chipotle created an “  Enhanced food safety program” that, according to a company spokesperson, includes preventative systems to ensure all food shipped to restaurants is clean and easily traced; wellness checks for employees when they clock-in, hourly hand-washing breaks, plus, extensive training.

Some Chipotle customers are reportedly getting a lot more than they bargained for after using the restaurant’s app to order a meal.  In recent months, several customers have reported that the burrito chain's app charged them over a hundred dollars for orders they didn't actually place.

Ohio resident Jessica Gallendstein said she experienced an issue when she received an alarming alert from her bank after placing a single order on the chain's app.  "My account was in negative amounts, and more than a hundred dollars were placed for orders I didn't give permission to be placed," she told reporter John Matarese.

When Gallendstein logged into her bank account, she soon saw that multiple orders (ranging from $10-$40) had been placed through the Chipotle app without her permission on the same day.  When reached by TODAY Food, a spokesperson for Chipotle declined to say how many customer complaints the company had received regarding fake charges, but a Reddit thread started earlier this year follows the complaints of at least seven people who claim they were affected.

Allison Ingrum, an editorial intern at TODAY, said she experienced a similar issue earlier this month when she saw four suspicious charges, ranging between $19 to over $50, on her Chipotle account. Soon after, she received a Chipotle confirmation email for one of the charges, which was ordered by someone in Madison, Wisconsin. Ingram lives in New York City.   "Next, I got another email from Chipotle saying the email and phone number on my account had been changed," she said.

Ingrum contacted her bank immediately and they reversed the charges then shut down her debit card. She tried to report the issue to Chipotle but since her email address wasn't registered with her account anymore, the attempt was unsuccessful. "Since my debit card was shut down by this point, I saw no more harm to be done," she said.

Like Gallenstein, this was Ingrum's first experience with suspicious charges on the Chipotle app. The mysterious charges left a bad taste in her mouth. "I was shocked to see the charges, especially since they totaled to approximately $130. I totally thought it was an isolated incident, so I am surprised to hear others are having the same problem,” Ingrum said.


👺 🇲🇽  Chipotle’s Chief Reputation Officer Laurie Schalow   —  Told TODAY that, to her knowledge, the company has not experienced a data breach.   ( 👺Corpo Guano Bullsh*t)

"The privacy and security of our customer information is very important to us. Chipotle customer accounts, like customer accounts for many other retail, hotel, and restaurant companies, have had instances of credential stuffing. This occurs where user names and passwords stolen from other companies are tested to see if they work to access accounts at other companies," she said.

"Chipotle has not identified any indication that user names and passwords were taken from Chipotle’s network, and Chipotle does not retain the full payment card number after it is used for digital orders."

( 👺Corpo Guano Bullsh*t)   Schalow explained that Chipotle, much like other restaurants, is constantly working to ensure their customers’ personal information is safe, saying, "We have taken steps to combat credential stuffing including engaging with law enforcement, requiring strong passwords and through technology. We also engage security firms to evaluate our security measures"

If customers do experience issues, Schalow encouraged them to email the chain's support team at CustomerServiceTeam@chipotle.com.

"We are proud of our industry leading food safety practices and we are committed to a culture of food safety in our restaurants where employees are supported and heard," Schalow said. “ Chipotle’s engaged and hard-working employees are what makes us great, and we encourage our employees to contact us immediately, including through an anonymous 800 number, with any concerns so we can investigate and respond quickly to make things right."


Every Chipotle Restaurant Will Open Late Due To Food Safety Meeting  —  

In addition to employee interviews, the report included information from the New York City Department of Health, which cited the chain with 260 critical violations between 2017 and 2019 at 74 New York City restaurants.

"Critical violation examples found by health inspectors include food left at dangerous temperatures that allow for the growth of pathogens, practices that allow for the contamination of ready-to-eat foods, evidence of various pests, and stores supervised by managers without a certificate in food protection. Just two weeks ago, the City cited a Chipotle restaurant where they found a crewmember working while 'ill with a disease transmissible by food or[an] exposed infected cut or burn on [their] hand'," the report read.

The chairman of the city's Public Health Committee, council member Mark Levine said he would host a public hearing where consumers, employees and the company itself could "engage" in a conversation about the reports. A date for the hearing is forthcoming.

The NCL's report comes on the heels of news that Chipotle was recently found to have violated thousands of child-labor laws in Massachusetts.


Chipotle Agrees To Pay $25 Million Federal Fine For Role In Some Outbreaks —

In what federal prosecutors say is the largest ever fine of its kind, operators of Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. have agreed to pay $25 million to resolve criminal charges related to foodborne illness outbreaks from 2015 through 2018.

More than 1,100 people were sickened in the outbreaks that caused the Justice Department to charge the fast-food restaurant chain with violating federal law by adulterating food. The outbreaks cited in the case are among at least seven that were traced to Chipotle during the 2015-2018 timeframe.

“The Newport Beach, California-based company agreed to a three-year deferred prosecution agreement (DPA) that will allow it to avoid conviction if it complies with an improved food safety program,” according to a statement from the U.S. Department of Justice. “Chipotle also agreed to pay the $25 million criminal fine, the largest ever in a food safety case, as part of the DPA.”

In the agreement the company blamed the outbreaks on individual employees at individual locations. According to the Department of Justice filing, Chipotle officials agreed that employees had failed to follow hygiene procedures and violated policies requiring sick employees to stay home.

“In December 2015, a norovirus incident at a Chipotle restaurant in Boston sickened 141 people,” according to the court filing. 

“That outbreak likely was the result of an ill apprentice manager who was ordered to continue working in violation of company policy after vomiting in the restaurant. Two days later, the same employee helped package a catering order for a Boston College basketball team, whose members were among the consumers sickened by the outbreak.”

Federal officials say the fine Chipotle has agreed to is significant partly because it comes in the context of the company spending “tens of millions of dollars … to upgrade its food safety program.”

The fine agreement is also being touted as an example to other food companies that the Justice Department and the Food and Drug Administration are serious about enforcing food safety laws.


General timeline of Chipotle outbreaks 

2018 Outbreak of Clostridium perfringens at Chipotle, Powell, OH — In July 2018 public health investigators at the Delaware General Health District and the Ohio Department of Health investigated an outbreak of Clostridium perfringens associated with the Chipotle Mexican Grill at 9733 Sawmill Parkway in Powell, Ohio. A reported 647 people became ill after eating at the restaurant between July 26 and July 30. Chipotle closed the store on July 30. After implementing its food-safety-response protocols, which included replacing the food and cleaning the restaurant, the facility reopened on July 31.

2017 Outbreak of Norovirus at Chipotle Mexican Grill, Sterling, VA —The Loudoun County, VA, Health Department reported that more than 135 people were sickened after eating food from the Chipotle Mexican Grill at 21031 Tripleseven Road in Sterling, VA. Two ill patrons tested positive for norovirus. The outbreak was attributed to an ill food handler.

2015 Outbreak of Norovirus, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Boston, MA — More than 120 Boston College students became ill after eating at the Chipotle restaurant at 1924 Beacon Street in Brighton, MA, in December 2015. After receiving reports of multiple cases of gastrointestinal illness among patrons who ate at the Chipotle Mexican Grill in Cleveland Circle, the Boston Public Health Commission, the City of Boston Inspectional Services Department, and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health launched an investigation to determine the cause and the nature of the illness. Laboratory testing confirmed the presence of norovirus. There were 136 known cases of norovirus from people who ate at Chipotle; others who were contacts to these cases have also become ill. City inspectors temporarily closed the Chipotle in Brighton near BC’s campus.

2015 Outbreaks of E. coli O26 linked to Chipotle Mexican Grill, Washington, and Oregon — The CDC, FDA, USDA and public health officials in several states investigated two outbreaks of E. coli O26 linked to food sold at Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants. Outbreak No. 1: At least 55 people were infected across 11 states. Outbreak No. 2: In December 2015 a second outbreak with a different rare strain of E. coli O26 was identified. At least 5 people were infected in three states.

2015 Outbreak of Norovirus, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Simi Valley, California — In August 2015 Ventura County Environmental Health and Ventura County Public Health Division staff investigated an outbreak of norovirus among patrons of a Chipotle restaurant in the Simi Valley Towne Center. During the week of Aug. 18, 2015, about 80 customers and 18 restaurant employees reported symptoms. Laboratory testing of patient specimens confirmed the presence of Norovirus. The restaurant closed temporarily for cleaning.

2015 Salmonella Newport Outbreak, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Minnesota — Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) and Minnesota Department of Agriculture investigators reported an outbreak of Salmonella Newport among customers of 17 different Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants. Among the 81 confirmed and 34 probable cases, illness onset dates ranged from Aug. 2 to Sept. 27.

2015 E. coli O157 Outbreak Linked to Chipotle Mexican Grill, Seattle, Washington — In early August 2015 Public Health Seattle-King County investigated an outbreak of E. coli O157 illnesses that occurred among five patrons of a Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant. Three patients were hospitalized. The Washington Department of Health (WDOH) Public Health Laboratory (PHL) conducted genetic testing by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis (PFGE) on isolates cultured from patients’ specimens. Test results showed that all were infected with an indistinguishable genetic strain that had not been seen previously in King County. 

06/04/2021   aljacobsladder.com