It’s been more than a year since Chipotle first served up a side of E. Coli with its Tex-Mex cuisine, causing the restaurant chain’s infamously long lunch lines to recede seemingly overnight. In the months since the incident, Chipotle has struggled mightily to regain its footing, giving away free food, wild’n out on Twitter, and, on the more productive end of the spectrum, hiring some of the nation’s top food safety experts to help repair its tarnished image.
In a continued effort to make America crazy for Chipotle once again, all of the company’s 3,862 restaurant managers will now be required to receive food safety training and certification, the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week. To show staff—and, presumably, the public—that the company means business, Chipotle is making its managers’ bonuses contingent on periodic internal and external food safety audits.
Though few could argue against increased oversight when it comes to food-safety, the actual details of Chipotle’s plan don’t sound exactly appetizing, either.
Every ingredient the company uses will now be screened for pathogens at the supplier level—and later put through “kill” steps, like blanching and washing lettuce before and after chopping—but it’s the restaurant’s latest meat option, chorizo, that’s been grabbing headlines. According to the Wall Street Journal, Chipotle has also disclosed that any trace of pathogens living on its spicy, Spanish sausage will now be blasted off with “high-powered water jets.”
“Anybody can spray a bunch of chemicals around and improve food safety,” James Marsden, Chipotle’s new executive director of food safety, told the New York Times. “This was going to require something more innovative and different.”
In Chipotle’s case, something innovate and different might be exactly what the company needs. Only time will tell whether high-powered water jets be the kind of change it’s looking for.