Locals respond to Chipotle’s recent food-safety crisis and more local restaurant news

See how locals are responding to the #Chipotle food-safety crisis. Image: Staff photo See how locals are responding to the #Chipotle food-safety crisis. Image: Staff photo

Locals respond to Chipotle’s recent food-safety crisis

Everyone’s favorite Mexican (we use that term lightly) grill chain has been under public scrutiny for months. Recent outbreaks of E. coli, salmonella and the norovirus have sickened hundreds of people across the country and caused the temporary closure of more than 40 Chipotle restaurants. CNNMoney reports that the chain’s stock has plummeted to about $428 a share, a 42 percent drop from its height of about $750.

From the looks of the lunch line at the Pantops location last Wednesday, Chipotle diehards in Charlottesville don’t seem deterred by the recent food-safety issues—none of which have occurred in Virginia. But the powers that be at Chipotle’s corporate headquarters have heard the concerns loud and clear, and on Monday, February 8, all 1,900 locations will close for a company-wide meeting to address the issues and discuss the steps they’ve taken to regain trust as a safe and health-conscious chain.

A letter from founder Steve Ells on Chipotle’s website states that the company is taking “significant steps” to ensure the safety of its food.

“From the beginning, all of our food safety programs have met or exceeded industry standards,” the letter reads. “But recent incidents…have shown us that we need to do much, much better.”

The letter details new “high-resolution sampling and testing” of ingredients to prevent contaminants like E. coli from getting into the food, plus “additional microbiological kill steps to eliminate microbial risk,” new sanitation procedures and additional food-safety training for restaurant employees.

Sound Bites

We asked a few Chipotle customers during lunchtime last week about food-safety concerns and the company’s response to them.

“I think things like this tend to get overblown,” says Logan Powell. “The food is still good, but if I got sick from something I ate here I’d probably have a different reaction.”

“I think it’s great [that they’re holding the meeting]. If there was poor food handling, then they need to educate their employees,” says Elizabeth Craddock. “When something like this happens, I think the best companies can do is admit they’re wrong and show that they’re putting forth efforts to fix what’s wrong.”

“I mean it’s gross, but I think they’re handling it,” says Liana Coppola.“My parents have said that I shouldn’t eat here, but my mom still wanted me to bring back food for her. People are obviously still coming.”

Morning market

The bad news is we’re still months away from the reopening of the City Market. The good news is there’s a new winter market in town to tide you over.

Every Saturday morning during the winter, Firefly will host an indoor farmers market. Vendors include Bells Valley Farm, Bellair Farm CSA, Madison Rainbow Trout, Orange Dot Baking Company and North Cove Mushrooms. And when you’re done perusing the market’s offerings, you can sit down and enjoy a “funky brunch,” which, according to Firefly owner Melissa Meece, is exactly what it sounds like—brunch with funk music playing in the background.

The market begins at 9:30am and runs for about two hours. For more information, visit Firefly’s Facebook page. Any local producers interested in participating in the market can contact Meece at firefly cville@gmail.com.

Posted In:     Living


Previous Post

Mac attack: Up close and personal with everyone’s favorite cheesy pasta

Next Post

Premier crew: Charlottesville’s restaurant wine list visionaries

Our comments system is designed to foster a lively debate of ideas, offer a forum for the exchange of ad hoc information, and solicit honest, respectful feedback about the work we do. We’re glad you’re participating. Here are a few simple rules to follow, which should be relatively straightforward.

1) Don’t call people names or accuse them of things you cannot support.
2) Don’t direct foul language, racial slurs, or offensive terms at other commenters or our staff.
3) Don’t use the discussion on our site for commercial (or shameless personal) promotion.

We reserve the right to remove posts and ban commenters who violate any of the rules listed above, or the spirit of the discussion. We’re trying to create a safe space for a wide range of people to express themselves, and we believe that goal can only be achieved through thoughtful, sensitive editorial control.

If you have questions or comments about our policies or about a specific post, please send an e-mail to editor@c-ville.com.

Leave a Reply

0 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
0 Comment authors
Recent comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Notify of