All U.S. Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. restaurants—including two located in Long Beach—will be closed for part of the day on February 8 for a national food safety meeting, Chipotle officials said.
“We are hosting a national team meeting on Monday, Feb. 8 to thank our employees for their hard work through this difficult time, discuss some of the food safety changes we are implementing, and answer questions from employees,” Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold told the Post in an email.
All the restaurants are scheduled to be open at 3:00PM that day, he said.
The meeting comes months after an E. coli outbreak that sickened 52 people and a norovirus outbreak that sickened about 140 people at a single Chipotle restaurant in Boston, according to the company.
“The fact that anyone has become ill eating at Chipotle is completely unacceptable to me and I am deeply sorry,” founder and co-CEO Steve Ells said in a letter on the company's website in December. “As a result, we are committed to becoming known as the leader in food safety, just as we are known for using the very best ingredients in a fast food setting.”
In his letter, Ells revealed the creation of a comprehensive food safety program that “dramatically reduces risk” on their farms, throughout the supply chain and in the restaurants.
The protocols include high-resolution sampling and testing of many ingredients—an “unprecedented” tactic in the restaurant industry because of the large number of testing samples, Ells said. Chipotle is also working in enhancing supplier partners’ food safety programs.
New sanitation procedures are also rolling out at Chipotle restaurants as well as the implementation of additional food safety training for all restaurant employees, officials stated.
In December, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was investigating five cases of E. coli in in Kansas, Oklahoma and North Dakota. Those individuals ate at Chipotle restaurants in Kansas and Oklahoma between November 14-23, 2015.
E. coli cases in Seattle and Oregon last October led Chipotle officials to close 43 restaurants in those areas.
“In the end, it may not be possible for anyone to completely eliminate all risk with regard to food (or from any environment where people congregate), but we are confident that we can achieve near zero risk,” Ells said.
Long Beach Chipotle restaurants located at 1800 Ximeno Avenue and 6324 East Pacific Coast Highway will take part in the food safety meeting.
Above, left photo a Google Maps screenshot.