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Old 12-22-2015, 09:52 PM   #61
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This article is here: Inside Chipotle's Contamination Crisis.

It has the following excerpts:
... on Dec. 21, the CDC announced it was investigating an outbreak of what seems to be a different and rare version of E. coli 026 that’s sickened five people in two states who ate at Chipotle in mid-November. The company says it had expected to see additional cases. It still doesn’t know which ingredients made people ill.

... Because restaurants from Oregon to New York served contaminated food, the problem most likely originated with one of Chipotle’s big suppliers, not one of the local farms.

To me, the scariest part of the Bloomberg article is that so many of the historical outbreaks have involved raw produce, something that is at most every restaurant and doesn't get purified by cooking. I'm not sure I'm ever going to be able to enjoy a salad, a garnish or a piece of fruit at a restaurant again.

Tomorrow morning I'll be having breakfast with some fellow MegaCorp retired geezers at a local, independent eatery that specializes in breakfast. We usually get together on Friday mornings, but since this Friday is Christmas, we're meeting on Wednesday.

I've been counting calories lately and therefore have been substituting a bowl of diced fresh fruit for the hash browns (yeah, I know, what a step down) to save on calories. Don't know if I'll be able to eat the fruit tomorrow due to wondering if it's been properly washed and handled, if it came into contact with any counter tops or unsanitized hands, etc....... Guess I'll stick to well done (not runny) scrambled eggs and well done bacon and a piece of whole wheat toast.

Creepy.

I've been Googling around looking for some data. Chipotle has 1,900 stores and has had 500 victims this year. I wonder how those numbers compare to any random 1,900 independent restaurants serving similar food? And if I could find the data (which I can't so far) then I'd wonder if the independent restaurant mishaps always get reported if hospitalizations or deaths do not result. That is, how much worse is the current Chipotle performance than similar but independent (or small/local chain) restaurants? Am I safer getting my burrito fix over at the little strip mall store-front joint owned and operated by a sole proprietor, his wife and, after school, their two high school aged kids?
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Old 12-22-2015, 09:57 PM   #62
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That Bloomberg article also has the following paragraph (I added the bold-face emphasis).
Almost 500 people around the country have become sick from Chipotle food since July, according to public-health officials. And those are just the ones who went to a doctor, gave a stool sample, and were properly diagnosed. Food-safety experts say they believe with any outbreak the total number of people affected is at least 10 times the reported number. The CDC estimates that 48 million Americans get sick from contaminated food every year.
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Old 12-22-2015, 10:11 PM   #63
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Workers are not the only source of ecoli in the field. Improperly cured manure can contaminate food grown on the ground. I always wash the outside of melons.
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Old 12-22-2015, 10:25 PM   #64
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That Bloomberg article also has the following paragraph (I added the bold-face emphasis).
The CDC estimates that 48 million Americans get sick from contaminated food every year.
Great......

I started reading this thread hoping that the conclusions would be that the problem is Chipotle (which, frankly, I've never patronized) and I could go on eating at other restaurants (major chain, local chain, independent) worry free.

Instead, I'm making the decision to never consume non-alcoholic food again. Tomorrow morning, it'll be a bloody mary washed down with a Mimosa. The coffee will be laced with plenty of Baily's.
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Old 12-22-2015, 10:40 PM   #65
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We rarely eat out. And at home, we wash all vegetable and fruit before consumption and pay more care if it is to be eaten raw.
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Old 12-22-2015, 11:09 PM   #66
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We rarely eat out. And at home, we wash all vegetable and fruit before consumption and pay more care if it is to be eaten raw.
We average about a meal per week out as a couple. I have 2 - 3 "breakfast with the boys" outings a month in addition to that. Worrying about what we're ordering isn't a very compelling reason to be dining out.......

I do the grocery shopping most of the time. DW washes all the fresh fruit and veggies when I first get them home before storing them. Then we wash them again before cooking or consumption. I always cook/grill meats using a meat thermometer unless in a soup or stew where a lengthy simmering period is involved.

This quote from the Bloomberg article doesn't bode well for independent or local chain restaurants. If Chipotle, with extensive resources, can't train local staff to handle fresh food safely, how can Mom and Pop Entrepreneur?

Quote:
Chipotle has said it will shift more food preparation out of restaurants and into centralized kitchens—that is, it will do things more like the fast-food chains it’s long mocked.
On another note, I noticed that the Bloomberg article and a blog written by a food safety guy went out of their way to emphasize and criticize the salary of the Chipotle CEO and the fact that they tried to be different than the more typical fast food purveyors such as Mc-D's.
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Old 12-22-2015, 11:21 PM   #67
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Old 12-23-2015, 12:34 AM   #68
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We got sick once from a Subway, we were sick for 3 days, everything coming out both ends

I felt like I was going to die.
Didn't go to hospital or anything as couldn't be more than 10 feet from bathroom...

We lived, but we avoided Subway for years. Now we will eat there on rare occasions.

We will always avoid the one that made us sick.
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Old 12-23-2015, 08:20 AM   #69
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This is amazing. We live in the greater Houston area that has about 500+ Roach Coaches running around all day long serving everything from fruit, veggies, Tacos, burritos, to grilled meats. These units are not regularly inspected (only spot checks) and are serving construction workers, street people, small businesses, etc.

We never hear about any health problems from these roving restaurants. You would think that they would be the source of a lot of bacteria contamination and subsequent illness, unless it happens and is not reported.
Two things: news and lawyers. Small scale operations won't make national news. They are also lesser litigation targets. News sells, and anything national means more clicks, more ad revenue.

Small operators may be sued, but you can be sure a big operator will feel it more, along with class actions. Also, news outlets scour the public documents and find lawsuits against big players quicker. Also, if the workers you speak of are trying to stay "under the radar", they may not visit hospitals or start litigation.

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Workers are not the only source of ecoli in the field. Improperly cured manure can contaminate food grown on the ground. I always wash the outside of melons.
This is very true. I mentioned the worker issue, but if you search for official words on this (CDC, etc.) they mention both: worker based contamination and manure. Sometime manure can migrate from the cow and pig pens to the fields.

If anyone out there doesn't ever want to eat anything raw, just do some google searching. You'll find plenty of sensational articles, but also a lot of distressing official reports.

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Great......

I started reading this thread hoping that the conclusions would be that the problem is Chipotle (which, frankly, I've never patronized) and I could go on eating at other restaurants (major chain, local chain, independent) worry free.

Instead, I'm making the decision to never consume non-alcoholic food again. Tomorrow morning, it'll be a bloody mary washed down with a Mimosa. The coffee will be laced with plenty of Baily's.
Like I said, you may not ever want to eat. I think your solution is EXCELLENT!
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Old 12-23-2015, 08:50 AM   #70
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I don't know what all the hubbub is about. There are risks in life. Shesh.
I'm with you. I'm heading out to Chipotle for lunch today. I figure if I never get exposed to anything, how can I build up tolerances? I've had food poisoning a few times. The worst was when I was working at a KFC as a college kid and got warm chicken-soaking water in an open cut. That was nasty. Food poisoning sucks, but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.

If people wanted to play the numbers games for safety, nobody would ever get into a car. Low hanging fruit, eh?
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Old 12-23-2015, 08:56 AM   #71
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Most of the e-coli at Chipotles and other places is related to workers not washing their hands enough. Whether it is the agriculture workers that supply the food, or the workers behind the counter, or even the customers that patronize the establishment might be a mystery.

When you have people that are used to living in sub-standard conditions, often without clean potable water, the concept of sanitation is not a widespread goal. It is no wonder that you have e-coli where you have workers that might not be used to the health standards we have here in the USA.

Companies hire the workers, put up a sign in the restroom that says "employees must wash hands", and let them prepare your food. The agriculture workers, many working in places like China, Mexico and other 3rd world countries, are even less trained. Many of the patrons have the same issue.

This is an issue that will get worse with time, not better.
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Old 12-23-2015, 08:59 AM   #72
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Originally Posted by aja8888 View Post
This is amazing. We live in the greater Houston area that has about 500+ Roach Coaches running around all day long serving everything from fruit, veggies, Tacos, burritos, to grilled meats. These units are not regularly inspected (only spot checks) and are serving construction workers, street people, small businesses, etc.

We never hear about any health problems from these roving restaurants. You would think that they would be the source of a lot of bacteria contamination and subsequent illness, unless it happens and is not reported.
The guys who frequent roach coaches have built up an intestinal immune system that tops the scale. When it comes to food poisoning they are virtually bulletproof.
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Old 12-23-2015, 09:03 AM   #73
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One more reason to eat at home. When you eat a salad prepared by someone else, you have to trust that everyone in the food chain utilized good hand hygiene. When you buy the salad fixings, you have the opportunity to wash them and interrupt the cascade of errors. Better still is to grow them yourself, and avoid contamination in the first place. Given that I do not have a garden, my best solution is to buy local whenever possible.
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Old 12-23-2015, 09:03 AM   #74
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We rarely eat out. And at home, we wash all vegetable and fruit before consumption and pay more care if it is to be eaten raw.
Will washing the fruits and vegetables clean off e-coli? Unless it is antibiotic soap, I doubt it.

Produce grown in other countries are often fertilized with fertilizer that you do not want to eat, and could be the cause of much of the e-coli issues here in the US.
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Old 12-23-2015, 09:06 AM   #75
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We reduced our Chipotle runs.
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ummmmm....but some people have increased theirs of late.
Chipotle runs, that is.
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Old 12-23-2015, 09:08 AM   #76
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Produce grown in other countries are often fertilized with fertilizer that you do not want to eat, and could be the cause of much of the e-coli issues here in the US.
You beat me to it. Exactly what I was thinking.

The primary source of e-coli is feces...a nice, natural fertilizer; it's biodegradable doncha-no. Gimme that chemical fertilizer going forward!
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Old 12-23-2015, 09:09 AM   #77
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One more reason to eat at home. When you eat a salad prepared by someone else, you have to trust that everyone in the food chain utilized good hand hygiene. When you buy the salad fixings, you have the opportunity to wash them and interrupt the cascade of errors. Better still is to grow them yourself, and avoid contamination in the first place. Given that I do not have a garden, my best solution is to buy local whenever possible.
Think about this: what about the patron in front of you at the salad bar? What is on those tongs? For the squeamish reading this thread, think about that! The tongs at a salad bar are horrible! I've seen people come right out of the bathroom and go right to the tong. Talk about disgusting.

I go to salad bars but usually wash my hands or sanitize after assembling the salad.

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Will washing the fruits and vegetables clean off e-coli? Unless it is antibiotic soap, I doubt it.

Produce grown in other countries are often fertilized with fertilizer that you do not want to eat, and could be the cause of much of the e-coli issues here in the US.
There have been cases of non-US produce causing issues. A few years back cilantro from MX was implicated due to human feces found in the field.

However, in this case it was USA based produce. And as I mentioned a while back, I've witnessed signs of workers in the USA defecating in or near the fields too. Don't think everything is so perfect here. It isn't.
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Old 12-23-2015, 09:16 AM   #78
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We rarely eat out. And at home, we wash all vegetable and fruit before consumption and pay more care if it is to be eaten raw.
We eat out every day, but not at restaurants like Chipotle. Mostly we eat at long established neighborhood "mom and pop" restaurants. Local restaurants in New Orleans are highly competitive, and seldom survive the first few years even if people don't get sick at them. So, it's not surprising to me that we do not get sick from eating out here.

Washing fruits and vegetables is something that I thought everybody did, and that I learned as a small child by watching my mother wash them. Like many little girls, I wanted to grow up to be just like my mother and that included washing fruits and vegetables.
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Old 12-23-2015, 09:36 AM   #79
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Think about this: what about the patron in front of you at the salad bar? What is on those tongs? For the squeamish reading this thread, think about that! The tongs at a salad bar are horrible! I've seen people come right out of the bathroom and go right to the tong. Talk about disgusting.

I go to salad bars but usually wash my hands or sanitize after assembling the salad.



There have been cases of non-US produce causing issues. A few years back cilantro from MX was implicated due to human feces found in the field.

However, in this case it was USA based produce. And as I mentioned a while back, I've witnessed signs of workers in the USA defecating in or near the fields too. Don't think everything is so perfect here. It isn't.
Great comment, I hate buffets and salad bars for that same reason. And pot luck work food...

The USA ag workers are not immune to bad habits, often the workers come from a place where sanitation is non-existent. If I was in the field, I doubt I would go looking for a latrine either.
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Old 12-23-2015, 10:04 AM   #80
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Ok here is another one you may have missed. Think about what goes in the front section of the shopping carts at your grocery store. Yes, the place where you put your food items. That little flip down panel which catches any drippings from diapers that are a little bit past change time. Such a great place to place that lunch meat package, which you will grab with your washed hands when making a sandwich.
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