I spent a month and a half in Australia a few years ago doing several food safety speeches. Given the number of things that can kill you “down under,” I was left a bit perplexed why they even cared about safe food. Food safety aside, however, there were more than a few phases that I absorbed. One was “good on Ya” for someone who did something far more than average. I know I have been giving Chipolte and its founder a bit more grief (and lawsuits) in the last few months, so it is time to say when it/he does something positive. In a company press release, Chipotle management set forth what the upcoming company-wide meeting was going to focus on:
Chipotle’s enhanced food safety program is the product of a comprehensive reassessment of its food safety practices conducted with industry leading experts that included a farm-to-fork assessment of each ingredient Chipotle uses with an eye toward establishing the highest standards for safety. The program’s many components include:
- High-resolution DNA-based testing of many ingredients designed to ensure the quality and safety of ingredients before they are shipped to restaurants — a testing program that far exceeds requirements of state and federal regulatory agencies, as well as industry standards.
- Changes to food prep and food handling practices, including washing and cutting of some produce items (such as tomatoes and romaine lettuce) and shredding cheese in central kitchens, blanching of some produce items (including avocados, onions and limes) in its restaurants, and new protocols for marinating chicken and steak.
- Enhanced internal training to ensure that all employees thoroughly understand the company’s high standards for food safety and food handling.
- Paid sick leave helping to ensure that ill employees have no incentive to work while ill.
Like I said, “Good on ya.” What is the rest of the restaurant industry going to do?