I am a former loyal customer of Chipotle; Too many instances of their food causing customers to get sick. You may be dreading my normal conclusion about the power of the markets. Rest easy, I'm not going there. As much as I liked Chipotle I was always put off by the organic label they put on their food and by their decision to not use GMOs. The organic food label is a mystery to me. Isn't all food organic. It's like that tag line in "Idiocracy," where the population declares Gatorade is good for plants because it has electrolytes. No one knows what that means but it sounds smart. It's organic!
In a Forbes article, "Chipotle: The Long Defeat Of Doing Nothing Well," I was surprised to read this:
Although the crops, meats and other foods produced by modern conventional agricultural technologies may not bring to mind a sentimental Norman Rockwell painting, they are on average safer than food that reflects pandering to current fads.Sure enough, that's exactly what the company says in its 10K, the annual financial report filed with the SEC. To some extent, the risk factors in these reports are kitchen sink items to avoid litigation, but it's still an eye-opening admission by a proponent of organic foods that organic foods may be riskier than non? un? anti? organic food.
And Chipotle knows it.
“We may be at a higher risk for food-borne illness outbreaks than some competitors,” the company admits in its filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, “due to our use of fresh produce and meats rather than frozen, and our reliance on employees cooking with traditional methods rather than automation.” (Think about that: Would you agree to open-heart surgery if the anesthesiologist planned to use “traditional methods” instead of state-of-the-art technology?)
Oh, and the decline in sales and stock price will discipline Chipotle faster and more effectively than government.