Nearly a year after being rocked by a massive food safety scandal that sickened hundreds, led to a criminal investigation, and sent the chain’s stock tumbling, Chipotle is reassuring customers that its food is safe. How can they be so sure? Well, for one thing, the chain is now blasting pathogens off of chorizo using “high-powered water jets.”
If the mental image of Steve Ells personally blasting your chorizo bowl with a giant firehose isn’t enough, rest assured the company has instituted plenty of other new food safety practices, too. As the Wall Street Journal reports, the chain’s latest marketing campaign, launching Wednesday, highlights a number of the steps Chipotle has taken in the wake of the Great E. Coli/Salmonella/Norovirus Scare of 2015.
The burrito behemoth is now requiring all 3,862 of its restaurant managers receive food safety training and certification; to ensure those managers actually make food safety a priority, their bonuses will be tied to periodic internal and external food safety audits. (Executive bonuses, however, will not be tied to food safety audits — though they are tied to stock performance.)
The company has instituted a myriad of steps to ensure the cleanliness of its food. “Now, every ingredient from black beans to tomatoes is being tested for pathogens at the supplier level, where laser-scanned bar codes are attached to every shipment and tracked as they travel from farm to distribution center to restaurant,” reports the WSJ.
Chorizo, Chipotle’s latest menu item, will undergo its high-pressure water treatment at facilities in Chicago and California. The company claims the process will kill pathogens without damaging the flavor (although maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing).
Of course, the company claimed the same thing about its steak, too, which it recently began pre-cooking off-site to ensure food safety. The pre-cooked steaks are now shipped to stores where they are marinated and reheated on the grill before being served. Safer? Maybe, though some customers have compared the new flavor to that of canned meatballs.