Chipotle Alert—What We Have to Sacrifice to Get Our Burrito With Extra Guac

Ella Katz Chipotle is one of the most popular fast-food chains in the world. Walk into a Chipotle and you will likely find a bunch of people grabbing a quick lunch. Chipotle offers the assurance of a sustainably sourced Mexican-based cuisine that is quite delicious. The famous Chipotle gut bomb has been known to lead to severe afternoon food coma. In the past month, some loyal Chipotle customers have started to question whether Chipotle continues to stand by its promise of providing “sustainably sourced Mexican cuisine” due to a series of concerning nationwide occurrences. Recently, in numerous states across the country including Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Maryland, there have been multiple breakouts of E. Coli at Chipotle restaurants.  E Coli is a harmful bacteria that can contaminate produce due to improper handling of food (especially the meats and poultry). In the past month, there have been some incidents at a number of Chipotles, including a Chipotle restaurant right near Boston College. After dining on burritos and quesadillas, 80 students from Boston College became ill after they contracted E. Coli, resulting in Chipotle closing yet another restaurant in the US. This is not good PR for the company and Chipotle needs to figure out what the source of the problem is and remedy the situation. Sophomore Sophie Woan says “I feel really safe because I haven’t eaten there in two months. As long as they don’t take away the pork carnitas, I can promise you that it will all be ok.” The Chipotle company is currently facing a public relations nightmare as people are scared to eat at Chipotle due the press coverage of the E.Coli contamination. Many other companies have faced similar issues in the past such as Costco and Blue Bell Ice Cream. The challenge is to establish how and why their produce is being contaminated by miscellaneous bacteria in violation of many health regulations of the states in which this incidents have occurred. More importantly, the health of their customers is potentially at risk.  Chipotle could lose many of their customers and revenue. If Chipotle doesn’t get their act together, formerly loyal “Chipotlians” may try other options in the QSR (quick service restaurant) space. Chipotlians  may become upset with the “treachery” of their favorite burritos, tacos, chips and guac. No one is willing to risk the gut bomb that E.Coli promises to deliver.  According to an article in the Washington Post, “Experts say Chipotle’s plan to improve food safety will face challenges that reflect deeper problems in the industry.” Furthermore, Bill Marler, a lawyer specializing in food-borne illness who represents many of the people who have fallen ill as a result of the outbreak, said people shouldn’t assume that just because a company touts certain kinds of food that it has taken all steps to protect them from pathogens.” This statement suggests that generally speaking, all QSR chains may be far less safe than we would like to believe. Junior Alden Sulger says, “I think it’s tragic. I shouldn’t have to be scared to snack on one of my favorite foods ever.” Many Latin students come from the same point of view as Alden, as Chipotle is only a few short blocks from Latin, and is quite a popular lunch spot for many Latin students. “Whether it is the juicy steak or out-of-this-world guac, if Chipotle closes, I have no idea what I will do.” Says sophomore, Keaton Bubala.  And with the recent closing of Pinkberry on Wells the thought of losing my much beloved Chipotle brings a shiver of fear to my guacamole-loving self. Even though there has not been an E. Coli breakout at our “home location” students should be careful as the contraction of E. Coli can take place at any Chipotle location. Not even the best guac is worth risking your health for for. Let’s hope Chipotle figures this out quickly and keeps my beloved guac and lunch options safe for the foreseeable future.]]>