Why I Stopped Eating Chipotle: E.Coli

Chipotle

When I was in high school, I used to buy a Chipotle burrito bowl at least once a week. People called me the Chipotle Queen. I once cut class early to buy a burrito before I had to rush to an after-school club (sorry, mom). Basically, what I’m saying is that I knew that I would reach my ultimate demise while eating a veggie bowl with lots of white rice, black beans, fajita veggies, mild salsa, hot salsa, a little bit of corn salsa, a little bit of sour cream, lettuce, and a ton of guac. I knew that I would most likely die hunched over that tin-foil covered bowl, but I didn’t realize the day that that mentality became a possibility would come so soon.

I remember the day clearly. It was November 1, and I received a text message from my mom that just said “hope you haven’t been eating at Chipotle. They found E. Coli.” I laughed. Seriously, didn’t she know April Fools’ Day was April 1st, not November 1st? I immediately Googled the problem and found that my mother was not lying; two people had gotten E. Coli from Chipotle. But I had just eaten there a few days again, and I was fine! I panicked, though. Would I have to give up the love of my life? I’d never been without my burrito bowl for more than a week at a time. My friend once told me she gave up Chipotle for eighty days, and I wanted to weep for her. This E. Coli outbreak worried me, because I thought that I would have to give up my crown and step down as Chipotle Queen. Alas, my friends convinced me to suck it up if I really loved it that much.

So I tried to carry on. I ate a burrito the day after I heard about the outbreak. I ate another one a week later. In the back of my mind, my mother’s hope that I hadn’t been eating the sickening food lingered. I was so worried that I, too, would get sick eating the one thing I love most in this world that I simply stopped. My friends were worried. They loved Chipotle too, and were unsure why I had given it up. If I loved it so much, why would I stop eating it? I stopped because I knew that if I really loved it, I had to let it go; if it was meant to be, it would come back.

And Chipotle did come back to me! Oh, it did! On February 1st, the Center for Disease Control announced that the great Chipotle E. Coli outbreak of 2015/2016 was finally over. I could rejoice in taking a bite of a burrito bowl and knowing that there was no chance I could die from it. So, I ate a burrito for dinner. It was probably one of the best meals of my life. I admit that there was most likely no real threat of death, and those people who got sick from the food were only hospitalized at worst. However, this is still a major problem that a lot of food chains are facing: making sure their food is safe enough to not infect people. A lot of people just assume that if the food is there for consumption, then it’s okay to eat. The problem is that assumption. Pathogens were found in KFC food in June of 2015, but the company buried the findings, and people continued to eat at that chain. It’s crazy the kinds of things that can get past consumers when they love the food they eat.

So, yeah, I did stop eating Chipotle after I found out about the E. Coli and, yes, I do realize that my chances of getting sick from the burrito chain are so low it’s almost non chance at all. I love Chipotle with everything I am, but I also realize that I wasn’t about to risk my life for a food chain. It’s crazy to me that people would literally tell me “I will die from the E. Coli if it means I get to keep eating Chipotle.” What?! Think about what you said. I love Chipotle more than the next guy, but even I know when to take a step back and assess the situation. I love Chipotle, and I may end up dying while eating it, but I can guarantee that it won’t be from E. Coli or any other pathogens. No thanks. I’ll wait until I can gorge myself on burrito bowls without any worry.

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