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Chipotle is back at it again with the foodborne illness, one store’s fault

(BUSINESS NEWS) Chipotle has, yet again, found themselves in a foodborne illness drama. However, this time it is because one store didn’t want to play by the rules.


Recoup and recover

Chipotle does not really have wiggle room when it comes to their public persona. After the E.coli outbreak in 2015 and 2016, Chipotle scrambled to regain customers and enforced new health protocols.

On the plus side, they did create a spectrum of protocols to prevent foodborne illness. However unfortunately, not all Chipotle restaurants are complying which has resulted in another outbreak.


Last week, two people were affected by a Norovirus outbreak in a Chipotle restaurant located in Virginia. This left everyone, including the CEO and Founder of Chipotle, Steve Ells, in shock, especially since they have made so many strides in reinventing their rules.

After investigating, Ells blamed the management who “didn’t strictly adhere to (our) company protocols.”

The virus was reportedly passed from a sick employee and most likely spread through handling food and monetary transactions. Luckily, it is not a problem with the food itself, so it most likely will not affect other restaurants in the chain.

Not across the board

Though this outbreak is small comparatively, it speaks to a much larger problem within the workplace. Employees are often forced to work while sick, or rather choose to work in order to get paid. Knowing this, Chipotle attempted to combat the problem with the solution of paid sick leave.

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This takes away the incentive of money and allows workers to stay home until they are better.

However, how Ells saw with the recent crisis, this rule, along with their other innovative health protocols, are not enforced store to store. Anonymous employees have shared that in their stores, safety procedures are not followed unless a health inspector is present. Others say that paid sick leave is non-existent, since some managers threaten job loss if they do not come into work.

Enforce your rules

Unfortunately in food service, there are often not enough employees on shift and the turn-over rate is high. This forces employees to work long hours, at times without breaks and even while they are sick. Regardless of the procedures created, as Chipotle witnessed, they need to be enforced in order to work.

Mandating employees work in sick conditions not only jeopardizes their health, but also the health of everyone they come into contact with.


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Written By

Natalie is a Staff Writer at The American Genius and co-founded an Austin creative magazine called Almost Real Things. When she is not writing, she spends her time making art, teaching painting classes and confusing people. In addition to pursuing a writing career, Natalie plans on getting her MFA to become a Professor of Fine Art.

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