Food safety/contamination and Chipotle Mexican Grill

Rachel Becker for National Geographic’s The Plate – Is Chipotle Getting More Scrutiny Than Other Restaurants for Food Safety Problems?:

In early December, Chipotle declared that it would revamp its food handling practices to become an industry leader in food safety. It even took the unprecedented step of announcing it would close more than 2,000 locations for four hours on February 8 so employees could attend a company-wide meeting broadcast from Denver to discuss the company’s new food safety procedures.

It’s moved tomato, lettuce, and cheese preparation to a central kitchen, implemented more testing for dangerous microbes, added a blanching step for some of the produce, changed marinating procedures, and added financial incentives for restaurant managers that are contingent on high food safety audit scores.

The massive scale of the food processing chain of many food companies (including fast food) is often underestimated. The large amount of food going through these plants is so huge that one sick person is able to contaminate food that will be going to many hundreds or thousands of people.

If Chipotle is able to spread illness to so many people, just think of how much larger the systems must be for the larger food chains. (And this also goes to show how good some of those systems are – in terms of food safety.)

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