In an effort to help small and medium-sized local farmers adhere to its enhanced food safety standards, Chipotle is committing $10 million as part of a new supplier initiative to assist with education and training, financial support, and new partnerships.
Chipotle has dedicated an entire webpage to educate suppliers on its new food safety standards, which lists the company’s protocol for handling chicken and steak, fresh produce, and other ingredients. The restaurant chain says that it is committed to heightened sanitation and will follow a rigorous program that includes frequent inspections by government health officials, restaurant health experts, and Chipotle’s corporate food safety team.
The initiative was announced on Monday during a national employee meeting, which called for the temporary closure of more than 2,000 Chipotle restaurants. Company executives discussed matters relating to the recent food safety outbreaks that have plagued the restaurant chain in previous months.
“We have supported local farms around the country for a number of years because we believe it is the right thing to do,” said Steve Ells, Founder, co-CEO, and Chairman. “We recognize that it may make it difficult for some local farms to comply with our heightened standards, but we are looking to help local farmers comply with our standards and to continue our support for local farms and rural communities around the country.”
The supplier initiative will focus on three key objectives:
Chipotle said in a press release that it is committed to providing suppliers with the support necessary to ensure that they meet these new food safety standards. The company will also provide local farmers with financial assistance in the form of grants or premiums to cover the costs of the new food safety practices. Lastly, Chipotle will seek and develop new partnerships with farmers using greenhouses and other technologies that meet the company’s food safety standards.
“In the end, it may not be possible for anyone to completely eliminate all risk with regard to food (or from any environment where people congregate), but we are confident that we can achieve near zero risk,” Ells continued. “Chipotle is an incredibly focused company. Our menu has remained virtually unchanged for the last 22 years and we only have 64 ingredients in our food. Rest assured that we have looked at each of these ingredients, where they come from, and how they can be made even safer. I believe our restaurants are safer today than they have ever been.”
For more information on Chipotle’s commitment to local farmers, check out the link provided below.