A Chipotle restaurant in Virginia had to shut its doors temporarily in July of 2017 due to customers’ reports of diarrhea, vomiting, and stomach pains after eating there. For Chipotle, cases of alleged food poisoning reaching the news is nothing new. In 2015, the fast casual burrito vendor faced numerous food poisoning cases at locations across the nation, including E.Coli, Norovirus, and Salmonella. With each outbreak, Chipotle saw its stock prices fall. It recovered from these outbreaks by publicly making changes to its food preparation and handling operations and offering customers free food products. Although customers returned to Chipotle, the association between the restaurant and food poisoning remains in the back of many minds.
How Food Poisoning Scandals Change the Public’s Perception of a Brand
Because of the previous cases of food poisoning involving Chipotle, many individuals mentally associate the brand with food poisoning and if they experience food poisoning symptoms themselves, may be quick to assume the symptoms are because of food consumed from Chipotle rather than food consumed elsewhere. This is not a new or isolated phenomenon – years following its E.Coli outbreak in the early 1990s, potential customers were still wary of eating at Jack in the Box.
The recent closure in Virginia could have been from a customer bringing Norovirus into the store. It also could have been from contaminated food or a contaminant elsewhere in the community, such as the water supply.
Chipotle’s Efforts to Prevent Future Food Poisoning Outbreaks
After its initial E.Coli outbreak, Chipotle made changes at various levels of its supply chain to reduce the chances of another outbreak occurring. This included changes like moving production of many of its products to a central location and shipping them in sealed containers to individual stores and changing how certain items are prepared, such as marinating chicken in sealed plastic bags, rather than in open bowls. One notable change was to how the chain prepares its vegetables. Now, Chipotle’s vegetables are blanched, a cooking technique where raw vegetables are dipped into boiling water for two to three seconds to kill any bacteria on the vegetable’s skin. The chain also opted to perform more rigorous testing of its meat products, requiring 60 samples from every 2,000 pounds of steak before it is shipped to restaurants.
One of the most important traits of a company is its ability to adapt. Chipotle adapted its operation to protect its customers and if necessary, may do so again in the future.
Work with an Experienced Elk Grove Food Poisoning Lawyer
Food poisoning can have serious consequences for a victim. If you or your child have suffered from food poisoning after consuming food from a restaurant or other food vendor, the restaurant or vendor could be liable for your damages. To learn more, contact our team of experienced food poisoning lawyers at Newland & Newland, LLP today to set up your initial consultation in our office, during which we can examine your case and determine the most effective way for you to proceed.
(image courtesy of Alex Jones)