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E. Coli Outbreak May Sabotage Chipotle’s “Buy Local” Tradition

December 3, 2015: 12:00 AM EST
Thanks to a severe E. coli outbreak, Chipotle Mexican Grill is making some major changes in its supply chain practices that could adversely affect its seven-year-old “buy local” commitment. The outbreak, whose cause has not been pinpointed, sickened 43 people and led to the temporary closing of restaurants in six states for deep cleaning. The health scare has hurt the company’s stock price, which dropped 11 percent in October and 9.5 percent in November, and slowed sales. In response, Chipotle has tightened safety standards, especially ingredients testing, for produce suppliers. Smaller local suppliers may not be able to meet the elevated standards, the company acknowledged, putting a crimp in its promise of using food grown locally.
Leslie Patton, "Chipotle Tightens Standards Amid E. Coli Outbreak, Putting Buy-Local Pledge in Jeopardy", Bloomberg Business, December 03, 2015, © Bloomberg L.P.
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