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belarus
Senior Contributor

Re: Chipotle and bioterrorism

I learned a long time ago to not make accusations about others food safety systems.   I think the days of people with no food safety systems are gone.  You don't make it to 2015 without an elaborate food safety system.  The Ecoli could have came from anywhere.  The CDC, FDA, and USDA besides the company are looking for the source.  It doesn't have to be from manure on growing crops.  Non-potable water for irrigation could do it.   Could be on the chicken or beef (or even pork I guess) and be cross contaminated at the restaurant.  It could be something else that is common in the diet of people that frequent Chipotle? Or the original question I asked....it could be the conspiracy nuts are correct and biotech put this one out here? (I still like their question of does anyone believe that a "local" veggie grower is supplying the NW and Central portion of the US for Chipotle and isn't selling to anyone else?)  Pulsenet with genome sequencing would answer these questions very quickly.  

Remember what happened to the tomato growers when they were falsely accused of salmonella?  I don't produce vegetables but I understand the growing conditions required for some of these pathogens.  water activity, temperature, ph, organic material/living plants, etc.  There are seasons that would be more favorable to listeria, ecoli, salmonella, mycotoxins, etc in the environment.  There are times they would die off really quick.    This isn't a organic, natural, or conventional only issue unless you live in a portion of the world with no wind, rain, rivers, wildlife, people, etc.

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BA Deere
Honored Advisor

Re: Chipotle and bioterrorism

To put Chipotle`s problem in perspective there were 52 people that got sick, last year 48 million people got sick from food bourne illnesses...Chipotle`s number just came up, that`s all.  But those that don`t like the natural food movement to begin with they can say "See See I Toooooold you so!" . As I understand it, it hasn`t yet been nailed down what caused Chipotle`s problem.  It might not be the tomatoes or lettuce...it could be their spices, that may be imported from God knows where.

 

This free trade stuff, i`ve heard they sometimes ship US chicken carcasses over to China to be cut up into pieces and then shipped back.  Well, that opens things up to more sources of contamination.

 

http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2015/12/16/chipotle-aiming-for-near-perfect-food-safety/

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k-289
Senior Advisor

Re: Chipotle and bioterrorism

B A   -  around these parts we never had our township crews to clean up a washed out culvert '' FULL of CORNSTALKS '' from a pig rooting up eroded soil ---

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k-289
Senior Advisor

Re: Chipotle and bioterrorism

M A Y B E    some of the experts need to figure out that livestock droppings in straw bedding do not have the  effects as a pit full of antibiotics and urine ?

sw363535
Honored Advisor

Re: Chipotle and bioterrorism

These are from press releases today.....

 

The fifth-largest multistate food poisoning outbreak of 2015 was the E. coli outbreak linked to food served at Chipotle restaurants in nine states. At least 52 people were sickened, 20 of them were hospitalized.

The outbreak was one of several food poisoning outbreaks linked to Chipotle this year including a Salmonella outbreak that sickened more than 60 people in Minnesota. The Salmonella outbreak was linked to tomatoes grown in Florida. The food source of the E. coli outbreak has not been identified.

Health officials initially thought the outbreak only involved Chipotle locations in Washington and Oregon. The company temporarily closed all locations in those states during the investigation.

During a 10-day closure, Chipotle deep-cleaned, sanitized and supplied all the locations with new ingredients. It tested all fresh produce, raw meat, and dairy items before re-stocking. The company also tested all employees for E. coli infections. No employee tests were positive for E. coli, an indicator that food was contaminated before it entered the restaurants.

 

By state, the case count was as follows: California (3), Illinois (1), Maryland (1), Minnesota (2), New York (1), Ohio (3), Oregon (13), Pennsylvania (1), and Washington (27). The case patients range in age from 1 to 94 years old with a median age of 21. Roughly 59 percent are female.

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced on Monday it is investigating five more cases of illness from E. coli in Kansas, North Dakota and Oklahoma linked to Chipotle Mexican Grill.

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NEW YORK — After an E. coli outbreak that sickened more than 50 people, Chipotle is tweaking its cooking methods.

Before they’re chopped, onions will be dipped in boiling water to kill germs. Raw chicken will be marinated in re-sealable plastic bags, rather than in bowls. Cilantro will be added to freshly cooked rice so the heat gets rid of microbes in the garnish.

The changes mark a dramatic turn in fortunes for Chipotle, which has surged in popularity by touting its “Food With Integrity” slogan. As it expanded to more than 1,900 locations, the company also sought to draw a distinction between itself and other fast-food chains that executives said use “chemical additives” and “cheap artificial ingredients.”

Now, Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. may be suffering from traits that helped define it. In its annual report in February, the Denver company noted it may be at a higher risk for foodborne illnesses because of its use of “fresh produce and meats rather than frozen,” and its traditional cooking methods,” rather than “automation.”

The warning began coming to life this summer when the chain was tied to foodborne illnesses in California and Minnesota, although those cases didn’t get as much attention.

Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold said many of changes will be implemented in coming weeks, but that the company doesn’t expect the taste of its food to suffer. Among the tweaks the company is making:

■ Cheese will now arrive in restaurants shredded.

■ Ingredients like onions will be macerated with lemon or lime juice to kill germs.

■ 60 samples of every 2,000 pounds of steak will be tested before it’s sent to stores. A similar testing program will be implemented for chicken in coming weeks. Pork and barbacoa beef are already delivered cooked in sealed bags.

■ Tomatoes, cilantro and other ingredients will be chopped in centralized locations, rather than in stores, so they can be tested. Chipotle has said in the past that tomatoes taste better when freshly diced in restaurants. After the outbreak, Chipotle co-CEO Steve Ells changed tunes: “If I’m eating a burrito that had tomatoes that were chopped in a central kitchen in the salsa or one that was chopped in house, I probably couldn’t tell the difference,” he said in an interview on CNBC last week.

Not all chopping will be moved to centralized locations. Onions, for instance, would oxidize and smell bad if they were chopped days in advance, Samadpour said. So they will remain chopped in restaurants, along with lemons, limes and jalapenos. All will now be blanched to kill germs.

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It is not the producers...

 

belarus
Senior Contributor

Re: Chipotle and bioterrorism

What's your point?  I don't see anything in there for corrective actions that would be common to the food industry? It looks like they are going above and beyone.  Antimicrobials (Organic acids) applications for cut veggies. Probably get a 3 log reduction of pathogenic bacteria.   Lethality steps (boiling) on for surface of products that would normally be served raw.  That could get a 5-7 log reduction.

You really believe that a tomato producer in Florida is only selling to Chipotle in Minnesota?  

While we are on the topic of food service....I personally believe it is getting more and more difficult for all food service from McDonalds to Chipotle to draw an employee base that will really live the details of a robust food safety plan.  Our local McDonalds has been closed by the health department twice in the last quarter.  I'm not a McDonalds basher.  I don't think they buy great food but they are as transparent as any fast food chain out there.  And I think they grew to where they are by priding themselves in cleanliness and consistency.  They do an excellent job of consistency across the country.  But I think their employee base is slipping just like everyone elses.

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belarus
Senior Contributor

Re: Chipotle and bioterrorism

Kind of ironic that the big boys always say we ought to all get along and they also say we shouldn't use food safety as a means to make one look better.  I'd agree with both but I don't think they like to listen to themselves.  People ought to choose Chipotle or not choose Chipotle because of the quality and value of the food they receive.  There ought to be plenty of room for them in the marketplace and the industros ought to not be so scared of people wanting real food.  Chipotle and everyone else in all aspects the food industry ought to do everything to keep food safety issues at as low of risk as possible but we'll never lower that to zero.  

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belarus
Senior Contributor

Re: Chipotle and bioterrorism

Most valuable US farm export over the years has been the farmers kids and the topsoil.

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sw363535
Honored Advisor

Re: Chipotle and bioterrorism

 

Quoting Your entries,

 

"People ought to choose Chipotle or not choose Chipotle because of the quality and value of the food they receive.  There ought to be plenty of room for them in the marketplace and the industros ought to not be so scared of people wanting real food."

the inference here is that the competition is serving only fake food....really.

Chipotle says   “fresh produce and meats rather than frozen,” and its traditional cooking methods,” rather than “automation.”  

I would appreciate my meats frozen for a 900 mile transportation ride,  would that make it "fake" meat.

Or if the cook uses a timer to be sure the heat was applied long enough to kill bacteria, would that be the automation we want to avoid.

 

 

"You really believe that a tomato producer in Florida is only selling to Chipotle in Minnesota?  No, I know we are shipping produce long distances to every outlet.  That is why I said "It is not the producers fault" --that was my point. If it were the producer it would be the same at every food outlet.

 

personally believe it is getting more and more difficult for all food service from McDonalds to Chipotle to draw an employee base that will really live the details of a robust food safety plan."    I totally agree with this point, but it is a factor that nullifies itself in this subject.  Every food outlet competing with Chipotle is drawing employees from the same pool of people to prepare their "artificial" food as well as Chipotle does the "real" food.

 

 

 

All of the adjustments Chipotle is making, or at least the ones listed in press releases would be considered normal food prep activities with food safety in mind.

 

The use of terms like "fresh" and "real" may seem harmless but all words have a meaning.  The problem here is they mean something different to every consumer.  For the modern suburbanite it may take them closer to the farm or the garden, or the pleasant memories of Americana.  For me and most farm raised kids, fresh out of the garden, pond, hanging side of meat, field, and even tree.---- all have a meaning of dirt, bacteria, and unprepared for human consumption. Even an apple needs the bug and bird poop washed off.  

Fresh and real, can give you a good case of food poisoning....  and should be avoided.  That was my mothers instruction, the best food prep engineer I've ever known.  Even taught what foods were most probable for food poisoning on an open salad bar.

 

The old comment "fresh out of the oven",  or "fresh off the farm"  all had the assurance that a smart mother or father was involved in preparing the product and assuring public safety.   How quickly we forget...

 

 

 

 

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belarus
Senior Contributor

Re: Chipotle and bioterrorism

Its easy to set here and postulate about what they should and shouldn't do.  I think an automated system or a person cooking will have the same critical control point.  Monitoring, verifying, and validating the time/temperature at cooking.   Jack in the Box was an automated system. This is really a moot point in their process though because the beef and pork are sous vide (cook in bag) at a USDA inspected processing plant.  I have a hard time believing they aren't following proper reheat and hot holding procedures.  I don't ever get cold carnitas at Chipotle.  Most produce served in restaurants (automated or not) isn't undergoing these kind of treatments.  

Let you in on a little secret.  Check what percentage of food borne outbreaks (or illness issued recalls) start from Minnesota.  Their department of health is on the ball.  

You and I grew up different.  Food at the store doesn't taste like food out of the garden or animals that we raise.  

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