Fortune reported today that Chipotle Chief Financial Officer Jack Hartung laid a good chunk of blame of how big a problem the recent multi-state (E. coli) outbreak (not to mention the recent Minnesota Salmonella Outbreak, the California and Boston Norovirus Outbreaks and the secret July Seattle E. coli Outbreak) has become for Chipotle on two culprits: the government and the media.
In particular, according to Fortune, Hartung took issue with what he characterized as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Protection’s (CDC) way of reporting developments in the outbreak, specifically the manner in which the CDC has been reporting one incident at a time rather than a quick, broad probe.
“It’s been fueled by the sort of unusual, even unorthodox, way the CDC has chosen to announce cases related to the original outbreak in the Northwest.” And that in turn has prompted the media to fan the hysteria, he claimed.
“Of course the press writes ‘Outbreak expands to new states’, which is not true,” he lamented, noting that all E. coli cases occurred in the same window, from October 24 to November 7, and that later cases that were revealed stemmed from the same outbreak.
“Because the media likes to write sensational headlines, we can probably see when somebody sneezes that they’re going to say, ‘Ah, it’s E. coli from Chipotle’ for a little bit of time,” Hartung said.
Other media attributed the quotes to Mark Crumpacker, Chipotle Mexican Grill’s chief creative and development officer, and on others who pushed the blame for the reaction onto the CDC and to the news media. “But because the media likes to write sensational headlines, we’ll probably see that when somebody sneezes, they’ll write, ‘Oh, it’s E. coli from Chipotle’ for a long time,” Crumpacker said.
And, then there is the little problem of the inspection report on the Boston Chipotle that has sickened some 80 Bostonians – mainly college students:
CHIPOTLE MEXICAN GRILL
1924 BEACON ST
BRIGHTON MA. 02135
Inspection Date: 12/7/2015
Chicken on the service line is 128F and steak is 124F. Provide proper hot holding of 140F or above.
|***||Violation||11-2-201.12||Personnel w/ Infections Restricted/ExcludedComments:
There was an employee that was sick during their shift on Thursday. Follow employee illness policy.
|***||Violation||M-2-103.11||PIC Performing DutiesComments:
8-404.11- There are multiple reports of foodborne illness from this location. This is poses an imminent health hazard and the establishment has been temporarily closed until further notice.