If you follow Dish and Drink you know that here at the BTR office we’re burrito lovers. And for cheap tasty burritos there’s one place in particular that captures almost everybody’s heart–Chipotle. That’s right, I said almost everybody, because to the chagrin of my coworkers and friends, I’ve only visited the mainstay once. I am a bit of a food snob when it comes to chain restaurants, with the exception of the incomparably delicious Five Guys burger.
This week though, Chipotle hit a rough patch when an E. Coli outbreak was traced back to the stores in the Pacific Northwest. 43 Chipotles were forced to close until investigation is complete.
Well, who’s laughing now everyone? I’m kidding, of course, because this is not a laughing matter, but a truly unfortunate and uncomfortable time for a number of hungry innocents who probably just wanted double chicken and free guac.
Known for their commitment to maintaining a connection to the whole foods they source, Chipotle is the most prolific fast food joint that uses largely fresh–rather than processed or frozen–ingredients. The chain’s slogan is “Food with integrity” and their website boasts that; “With every burrito we roll or bowl we fill, we’re working to cultivate a better world.”
However, it seems that fresh food preparation on such a large scale just might be a double-edged sword, as reports released after this E. Coli flare-up “indicate a concern over the fresh, uncooked ingredients that Chipotle uses in its food prep.” This particular outbreak marks the third bacterial illness to strike Chipotle customers this year (infection from Salmonella and norovirus were previously linked to the chain.)
Clearly, there are some tradeoffs that one must make when deciding what fast-food to take a risk on. Opting instead for the highly processed foods chalked full of harmful preservatives available at most fast-food establishments comes with its own host of astronomical health repercussions. A diet consisting of processed food may contribute to everything from morbid obesity and diabetes, to cancer, and autism.
Personally, I’d rather take my chances with the fresh stuff. Or more specifically, stick to slow foods, know where my food comes from, what’s in it, and exactly how it’s being prepared. If you just have to have fast-food, I’d still suggest giving Chipotle another go. Because I think we can all agree that an upset stomach for a few days is a whole lot better than a reduced lifetime plagued with incurable disease.
Featured photo courtesy of Ian T. McFarland.