Those expecting to buy a lunch burrito Monday at any Chipotle Mexican Grill were greeted by empty parking lots and this sign at the door. It was a notification that every location would be closed until 3.
The company posted on social media pictures and several statements of how employees were watching videos and being reminded about safety procedures. The chain's image has been damaged by several outbreaks of food-borne illness. The company Co-CEO Monty Moran was quoted as saying that they've, “come together today to make sure chipotle is not just the most delicious place to eat, but also the safest."
Nayl Aparcero who usually has lunch at a south Austin location next to her store, didn't known about the temporary shutdown. She plans to eat there again when it opens.
"Yes, I mean, they are training on everything, of course I will go back.
Some customers are eating elsewhere. The Denver based company reported a 36% sales drop in January after the recent outbreak became public.
The Chipotle restaurant chain is one of more than 5,000 food establishments in greater Austin inspected by the Health Department. FOX 7 was told the record is clean, with no major violations taking place recently.
The average score across the metro area, for every kitchen inspected, is 87 out 100. The reviews are typically done at least twice a year according to assistant division manager Vince Delisi.
""By and large, I think our food system is pretty safe, but I think it is incumbent on customers to be careful to make sure their food is fully cooked and they are washing their own hands before they eat,” said Delisi.
The first step, Delisis said, is to look for proper permitting and certification which is required to be displayed. It’s important to remember that food sometimes will show no signs of being tainted, and Delisis also warns, what may appear to be red flags - like messy tables and kitchens - are nothing more than the results of a rush.
"A better indication might be if you are finding indications of insect infestation, if you are in the dining areas, and you see roaches on the walls or something like that, that is an indication of sanitary problems, that’s an indication of a cleanliness issue, if you are in the public, the customer restroom and there is no toilet paper or there is no paper towels, or there is no hot water in the sink those are indications management is not looking at those food safety and food health issues that they should be looking at."
That kind of neglect, Delisis says can be linked to cross contamination problems which can make you very sick.
The CDC estimates that each year roughly 1 in 6 Americans get sick because of tainted food. That’s about 48 million people.