Steve Ells, Chipotle founder and co-chief executive officer, apologized to patrons who fell ill after eating at the company’s restaurants, and pledged that sweeping new food safety practices will prevent such outbreaks in the future.
“This was a very unfortunate incident and I’m deeply sorry that this happened, but the procedures we’re putting in place today are so above industry norms that we are going to be the safest place to eat,” Ells said in an interview on NBC’s Today program.
His comments come a day after local health officials reported that 80 people had been sickened by norovirus linked to a Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. restaurant in Boston, in the latest wave of patrons who have fallen ill on the heels of another outbreak in the Northwestern U.S.
That finding appears separate from a spate of E. coli infections in recent months that has sickened 52 people in nine states and forced the company to temporarily close some locations.
The burrito restaurant chain has been under scrutiny since November, when health officials first linked it to the E. coli outbreak, the company’s third food safety incident since August.
The illnesses have raised concerns about potential damage to Chipotle’s reputation despite the loyalty it has built over its use of fresh produce, meat raised without antibiotics, and ingredients free of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.| | | Next → | Single Page