Chipotle strikes contrite note as it gets ready to reopen in Pacific Northwest

Co-CEO Steve Ells apologized in the company's statement saying it will soon reopen 43 restaurants closed in Washington State and Oregon due to an E. coli outbreak.

DENVER: Chipotle reassured consumers on Tuesday as it prepared to reopen more than three dozen restaurants in the Pacific Northwest after an E. coli scare.

The Mexican restaurant chain emphasized the steps it is taking on Tuesday, including supplying its locations with fresh ingredients and noting that health officials have found no ongoing risk from the incident.

In a statement posted to the press release section of its investor relations page, Chipotle listed eight food-safety steps as it plans to reopen the restaurants in the coming days, including deep cleaning and sanitizing in all US restaurants and replacing all ingredients in closed locations. It is also testing fresh produce, raw meat, and dairy items.

The company also clarified that of the 900 test results it had received, none had shown signs of E. coli. It also noted that no locations outside of the two states, or any Chipotle employee, have been connected to the issue.

Chipotle founder, chairman, and co-CEO Steve Ells said in the statement that "the safety of our customers and integrity of our food supply has always been our highest priority" while also striking a note of contrition.

"If there are any opportunities for us to do better in any facet of our sourcing or food handling – from the farms to our restaurants – we will find them," he said, in the statement. "We are sorry to those affected by this situation, and it is our greatest priority to ensure that we go above and beyond to make certain that we find any opportunity to do better in any area of food safety."

The chain also linked to its Pacific Northwest Restaurant Closure Update page, which contained much of the same information about the reopening process, via a button on its homepage. It also posted about it on Facebook and Twitter, platforms the company did not use in the early stages of the crisis last week.

The safety of our customers and the integrity of our food always have been and always will be our top priorities. And so...

Posted by Chipotle Mexican Grill on Monday, November 9, 2015

Reached for comment, a Chipotle representative forwarded inquires to the company’s statement.

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