Chipotle Mexican Grill’s founder and co-CEO, Steve Ells, issued an apology on The Today Show and just hours after it aired, the local health department in Seattle shutdown one of the restaurant chain’s locations for what ABC News reported to be “repeated food safety violations.”
For the recently shuttered Seattle Chipotle, this isn’t the first time its doors have shut in recent times, as the location was temporarily closed–along with 43 other locations across Washington and Oregon–as a result of the recent E. coli outbreak that left 52 people sick between October 19 and November 13.
Following the reopening of the chain’s restaurants in Seattle, the local health department has been keeping a close eye on the reopened locations. The recently closed location, according to the Seattle Health Department, was closed after red violations were observed on three separate days. That and the holding temperature for the meat was too low.
During his appearance on The Today Show, Ells apologized to those who were made sick by the restaurant’s food while noting that the company is “doing a lot to rectify this.”
It’s a really tough time, I’m sorry for the people who got sick. They’re having a tough time. I feel terrible about that. We’re doing a lot to rectify this.
As for just what Ells means by “doing a lot to rectify” the situation, he explained that the company is now implementing new food safety and testing practices that will put it “10 to 15 years ahead of industry” standards.
Ells noted that after the implementations have been made, he believes that Chipotle “will be the safest restaurant to eat at.”
The E.coli outbreak has sickened folks across nine states and if that wasn’t bad enough, 141 students at Boston College reportedly contracted the norovirus after eating at a local Chipotle.
While the specific ingredient has not yet been pinpointed, the restaurant has stated that whatever it is, it likely came out of their restaurants.
Earlier this year, health officials reported a link between the chain and a salmonella outbreak in Minnesota.
Chipotle indicated in its annual report that it may be at increased risk of food-borne illness outbreaks as a result of its inclination to use “fresh produce and meats” instead of frozen equivalents. That and their “reliance” on “cooking with traditional methods rather than automation.”