Chipotle Mexican Grill had a bad experience with food safety since the E. coli outbreak they had to deal with last year. To avoid this kind of situations the Mexican grill food chain retained two leading food safety experts. David Acheson and David Theno were brought in to increase efforts on guarding their food against non-healthy situations.

David Acheson is a former official at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the U.S. (USDA) Department of Agriculture, was brought in as an adviser. Working next to Acheson at Chipotle is David Theno, a food safety consultant and a former Jack-in-the-Box executive. Theno had the misfortune of dealing with E. coli outbreaks at Jack-in-the-Box back in 1990s. And this could possibly be the main reason Chipotle hired him.

Chipotle hires former critics
Chipotle has stepped up its efforts regarding the food safety of its own restaurant franchise in order to stay true to its healthy image in comparison with fast-food chains. Image Credit: Entrepreneur

These safety food duet are well respected among many others food safety experts. Spokesman Chris Arnold confirmed the consultants were retained last year. However, neither of them would say when they will start working with the food chain nor details of their duties. Back in December of last year, Acheson was sharply critical of the company’s initial response to the outbreaks.

Also, along David Acheson and Chris Arnold, there’s James Marsden, a meat science professor that was hired last year to oversee food safety programs. This wave of Chipotle hiring experts on food safety is just part of an effort looking out to better consolidate more operations of the company. So, when it comes to handling products subject to disease outbreaks, Chipotle will count with a team more than capable to handle it.

Safety food, safety income

What made Chipotle to hire food safety experts? Last year they dealt with an E. coli outbreak, along with salmonella and Norovirus. This crushed sales for the chain food, repulsed customers and slashed $6 billion off its market valuation. Causing Chipotle to loose 5 percent of incomes since the start of 2016 and nearly 30 percent over the past year.

This move on hiring the ‘safety squad’ might get customers back between solid competition in the food industry. Yet it all depends on how well Chipotle will overcome customer’s fears over food safety.

Winning back customers is critical for any food outlet to ‘revive’ sales. Michael Doyle expects that Chipotle starts paying more attention to preventive control measures rather than food testing going forward. Doyle is the Director of the Center for Food Safety at the University of Georgia.

So it might be a worthy advise for the Mexican food chain to take into account, considering Doyle’s position. Chipotle has already severed ties with some suppliers as part of these ongoing control measurements to avoid more non-healthy food diseases.

Source: Reuters