Photo by Zach Le
White or brown rice? Black or pinto beans? What kind of meat? Chips and a drink?
We all know where we can hear this series of questions. Whether we’re having a delicious bowl or a humongous burrito, Chipotle is a staple fast-food restaurant for many college students across the nation. But recently, considering the string of illnesses connected to the restaurant, the prospect of making that short drive to the Malibu Country Mart to the closest Chipotle (where the line is nearly always to the door) has become less attractive for some Pepperdine students.
Sophomore Ramia Thomas said she gave up Chipotle as soon as she heard about the illnesses.
“Once the news broke of E. Coli in the meat at Chipotle I immediately warned everyone I knew who went there regularly,” Thomas said. “I don’t want to put anything harmful in my body, and haven’t been to a Chipotle since.”
Reports of people being diagnosed with E. coli from eating Chipotle broke in October 2015. In response to this, Chipotle has undergone several in store inspections, as well as extensive food safety workshops with their employees. Dec. 18, 2015, was the most recent date that someone was recorded ill with E. coli, and there are only three people in the state of California that have contracted the virus from Chipotle. All three of these people were from Stainslaus County, which is in Northern California, this all according to the Centers for Disease Control. It’s been two months since this last breakout; so why are people still scared?
Freshman Reagan Zimmerer said she just recently asked her friends if they wanted to have a study break at Chipotle, and what was usually met with enthusiasm was met with fear.
“How can they still be afraid? No one has gotten sick in such a long time,” Zimmerer said.
However, there still seems to be a fair number of people who have no reservations about the popular Mexican grill. For those who have frequented Chipotle this semester, the line is still out the door, and there are still Pepperdine students who seemed indifferent to the fact that there was a possible chance of getting sick.
“I still eat it twice a week; this outbreak thing hasn’t changed my habits at all,” freshman Drew Kunde said. “I should probably eat it less, but not because of the E. coli; I don’t care about that.”
The Chipotle website details the various ways the chain prepares the food that they serve. From high-resolution testing they do on their vegetables, to the strict policy on using only pasture-raised animals, it would seem like an E. coli problem shouldn’t have been able to happen in the first place.
The nationwide closing of Chipotle on Feb. 8 in order to conduct food safety meetings gave people the chance to sign up for a free burrito, bowl or whatever they liked.
Two months have passed without a single outbreak. There are still a few stragglers who are cautious about eating at the beloved Chipotle, but they may be starting to become the minority. Unfortunately for those of us who frequent the Chipotle at the Country Mart, free burritos ensure that the lines at Chipotle will remain to be out the door.
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