A Cowgirl’s Perspective: Proud to support companies that support agriculture, unlike Chipotle
As a rancher, I’m proud to eat at Culver’s and spend my money at a restaurant chain that supports agriculture. Since 2013, the burger company has donated more than $1 million to support the National FFA Association. The company’s “Thank A Farmer” campaign highlights the work America’s farmers and ranchers do to raise meat and dairy for its burgers and custard.
On the flip side, Chipotle is one of those companies that continually bashes conventional agriculture, uses fear to sell burritos and has recently gotten itself in some hot water for food safety issues that have arisen.
The company has been suffering from plunging sales after an E. coli outbreak linked to its restaurants in October and November. The E. coli outbreak was followed by a separate norovirus outbreak at a Chipotle store in Boston. Since then, sales have declined rapidly, down 14.6 percent in the fourth quarter of 2015 with stock falling 30 percent, according to Bloomberg. This the first decline in sales since the company went public in 2006.
The situation continues to escalate as Chipotle was served with a federal subpoena last month surrounding a criminal investigation tied to the norovirus outbreak. The investigation is being conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California in conjunction with the Food and Drug Administration’s Office of Criminal Investigations. Chipotle spokesperson Chris Arnold said in a company email that employees will not discuss pending litigation, but Chipotle plans to cooperate fully with the investigation.
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Chipotle has more than 1,900 locations where the Denver-based burrito chain serves up all-natural burritos. The E. coli outbreak impacted at least 52 people in nine states, and the norovirus outbreak sickened more than 150 people.
Chipotle has issued full-page ads apologizing to their customers, but the once thriving company, which served burritos with a side of guilt, is now eating a slice of humble pie. Perhaps the chain will finally have to admit that, in its effort to chase the latest food fad, they forgot that the reason modern agriculture works is because of the food safety measures and protocols America’s food producers follow.
I’ll continue to support companies like Culver’s that support America’s farmers and ranchers. And if I get a hankering for a burrito, I’ll definitely be going somewhere other than Chipotle.
What do you think about Chipotle’s black eye? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. ❖
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