Chipotle tries to win back customers after foodborne illness scares

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After cases of E. coli and norovirus sickened customers in nearly a dozen states, Chipotle is working to win back its customers’ trust.

Today, Chipotle stores won’t open until 3 p.m. so employees can attend meetings that address the food safety concerns that have affected the brand’s reputation since last summer. CBS News reports that the company’s fourth quarter earnings in 2015 fell 44 percent.

Outbreaks

According to The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 55 people, were infected with STEC (Shiga toxin producing E. coli) O26 in 11 states since Jan. 27, 2016. A second outbreak of a different strain of STEC O26 affected 5 individuals who reportedly ate at Chipotle restaurants was reported in December 2015. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared the outbreak over as of Feb. 1, 2016.

Marketing strategies

Last year, the brand took GMOs off of its menu. The decision was made as a result of vowing to use only high quality, local, organic ingredients, and to the company, GMOs didn’t fit that description.

In 2014, Chipotle released a four-episode series, “Farmed and Dangerous,” that highlights the company’s opposition to large-scale meat production, a few months after it released “The Scarecrow,” a short video that brought the same message.

On its website, Chipotle states:

“While industrial farming practices have evolved to maximize profits and production, we make an extra effort to partner with farmers, ranchers, and other suppliers whose practices emphasize quality and responsibility.”

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More about Chipotle:

Chipotle under attack, farmers upset over HSUS support May 17, 2010

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Katie Woods grew up in Columbiana, Ohio. Katie likes reading, writing, enjoying the outdoors and DIY projects.

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