By MIKAL OVERTURF/Montana State News
Bozeman residents will soon be able to experience Chipotle in their own hometown. The “fast-casual” restaurant will be opening its doors at the corner of 19th Avenue and Main Street sometime this spring, bringing its campaign of “Food with integrity” to Bozeman.
This does not come without some controversy, however, as by the end of 2015 over 500 people had reported E. coli poisoning from foods purchased at Chipotle. A norovirus outbreak was also connected to a restaurant in Simi Valley, California.
One MSU student was interviewed about the opening of this chain, and she mentioned her reservations, saying, “I’m not sure if I want to eat there, not after all those people got sick.” This sentiment seems to be shared by many, as evidenced by Chipotle’s falling stock.
Chipotle’s traditional mission has been to source many of their meats and vegetables locally. In 2015 Chipotle sourced about 12 percent of their produce from local farmers
However, it has been proposed that there could be a higher chance of contamination by using this method of locally sourcing. There is more opportunity for contamination when ingredients are delivered from hundreds of producers instead of one.
As of yet, researchers have been unable to pinpoint which ingredient was the exact source of the diseases. Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious diseases specialist at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, said that this is a difficult task due to the customizable nature of Chipotle’s foods
Because of these concerns, Chipotle has announced they will be scaling back their locally sourced ingredients, possibly setting an example for other restaurants that had considered following suit with their initial ambitions for moralistic foods. According to their website, they have also created a Local Growers Support Initiative which aims to commit $10 million to helping their growers meet safety standards.
Chipotle will be sharing a building with another chain that attempts to give fast food a better image, Panda Express, and a Sleep Number store.
– Edited by Nathanael Johns