map of chipotle outbreaks and food illness spread

Food Illness Continues to Rampage Across Chipotle Locations

FOOD ILLNESS CONTINUES TO RAMPAGE ACROSS CHIPOTLE LOCATIONS

CHIPOTLE’S WORKERS FALL ILL

A Chipotle store in Billerica, Massachusetts has voluntarily closed its doors in response to several of its employees succumbing to food illness from the norovirus. As of today, four employees have fallen sick.

Billerica Director of the Board of Health Richard Berube, confirmed that at least one of the sick employees have norovirus, with two more possible cases likely. Norovirus symptoms include pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and a low-grade fever. Signs of infection typically manifest about 24 to 48 hours after consuming contaminated food or being exposed to an infected carrier. If you or a loved one has the virus, it’s important to practice meticulous hygiene for an additional three days after recovery to prevent reinfection, as the virus finishes shedding in the feces. Interestingly, while norovirus can infect the same person more than once, victims of the virus will experience a temporary immunity of about 14 weeks after they’ve recovered from their infection. If you have types B or AB blood, you also have a slight built-in protection against weaker strains of norovirus.

Company spokesperson Chris Arnold said that no customer illnesses have been reported, and any employee feeling ill will be allowed to take leave until fully recovered.

Current Outbreak Status

Chipotle is still struggling with brand damage fallout from a series of past norovirus and E. coli outbreaks. Stock in the Mexican grill chain is down 20% during the last 12 months, and fell more than 5% early Wednesday morning.

However, Chipotle’s executives are feeling positive. Stock is actually expected to rise by the end of this year, in part thanks to the brand’s swift and uncompromising reaction to any reported illnesses. Store management has taken precautionary steps to keep customers from contracting the virus, such as discarding all food that may have been contaminated and bringing in fresh stock, and have thoroughly cleaned the store while closed. Inspectors have visited the store and found everything in good shape. Before employees can come back to work, they must pass a stool sample and symptoms test to ensure they won’t be passing the illness onto anyone they serve. Chipotle expects to reopen the location today.

If you would like to learn more about lot traceability and how you can implement efficient food safety processes at your farm, plant, restaurant, or packaging facility, give us a call or download our educational guide. Whether you’re a local brewery or a national meat-packing factory, our food traceability team can design a custom system that fits your needs.

ABOUT PARAGON

Paragon Data Systems provides customized barcoding solutions for companies of all industries. They specialize in creating systems for customers whose requirements are outside the standard offerings of barcode systems. As important players in the barcoding game since 1995, Paragon is certified to work with and design advanced and efficient tracking systems for the most stringent food safety laws.

chipotle food safety and illnesses are a concern for consumers

Chipotle Closes Doors to Save Brand and Promote Food Safety

CHIPOTLE CLOSES FOR FOOD SAFETY CONCERNS

IS IT ENOUGH? CAN THEIR BRAND BE SAVED?

Food safety concerns abound in the social media stratosphere. Burrito fans across America will have to go without their favorite food fix today. Chipotle is facilitating a nationwide shut-down to hold an all-staff meeting about food safety. The restaurant’s doors will remain closed until 3 p.m. local time.

Training will take place at their headquarters in Denver and will be broadcast to all other locations. The meeting will cover topics like more stringent food preparation protocols, DNA-testing of ingredients, and paid sick leave to prevent the spread of disease, in an effort to address and eliminate the recent blowback from multiple foodborne illnesses.

While these measures are admirable, it might be too-little-too-late for the popular Tex-Mex chain. Chipotle has been living a nightmare that no restaurant ever wants to face: contaminated foods, and much worse, a continued difficulty in ferreting out the cause of the contamination. Part of Chipotle’s business model is sourcing local foods, which allows them to serve better tasting, fresher produce and meats. Unfortunately, this presents major issues when it comes to pinning down sources of bacteria, which in turn garners public disapproval. In many areas, the once infamously out-the-door lines are now relative ghost towns. Customers are having trouble trusting that the company has their best interests at heart.

Why has this been such a huge problem for Chipotle?

It’s a fact that food safety snafus aren’t isolated to Chipotle; in fact, the CDC states that the number of fast food outbreaks has increased across the board in recent years. Still, with no less than three separate outbreaks in just two months’ time, it would appear that Chipotle’s problems are more than a string of bad luck. Supply chain recordkeeping inefficiencies are allowing any foodborne illnesses they may have to escape, largely unchecked, into a much greater portion of the population.

While the CDC reports that Chipotle has been compliant with all illness investigations, they are still having a lot of difficulty figuring out which ingredients were delivered to which stores at which times.

Ian Williams, who oversees the CDC’s outbreak response and prevention team, said the reason for these roadblocks can be attributed to their poor traceability.
“The system they have is not able to solve the problem we have at hand. It’s not granular enough. Traceability from the farm to the point of service should be improved throughout the food industry.”

With over 100 suppliers, Chipotle has a long chain to regulate. Like many in the food industry, they don’t have an automated, drill-down method of lot traceability, which means a far slower response time in terms of reporting and tracking the pathogen. Williams admits that this is a common issue he sees when trying to locate the origin of large-scale, multistate outbreaks; indeed, his team has only been successful in less than half of all cases.

So how do you provide high-quality, fresh ingredients without risking consumer health?

In order to comply with FDA standards, have a better handle on food origins, and prevent outbreaks from spreading, it is imperative that any company dealing with foods turns to automation. Paper-based methods, especially for Chipotle’s large supply chain, need to be left behind.

Recording the lot or batch of an ingredient as it is picked and packaged and keeping a database of these records is just about the best way to protect your business from fines and minimize brand damage. Why? Databases are secure, regularly backed up, and able to be accessed from multiple points by workers on the floor and facility management. If a recall occurs, these records can be delivered to the FDA within the required 24 hour time period, and the company can quickly determine where the contamination starts and ends in the production or processing system.

Once the specifics of the outbreak are known, the company can inform the public of the danger much sooner, which goes a long way towards repairing trust and preventing lost revenue. Studies show that 87 percent of consumers will still purchase a brand after a recall if they felt the company was honest and transparent. A fast and thorough response time is the best way to mitigate damages, a response time only made possible by complete and sharable records. Gathering this information from the start- at the farm where the food is grown- is an easy, less expensive way to provide a visible supply trail.

Chipotle’s new plan to shift more ingredient prep out of local eateries and into its centralized kitchens may go a long way to preventing more foodborne illnesses in the future, but they can expect to face similar issues if they don’t implement a better tracking system. Only time will tell whether they can recover their once-strong fan base.

If you would like to learn more about lot traceability and how you can implement efficient food safety processes at your farm, plant, restaurant, or packaging facility, give us a call or download our educational guide. Whether you’re a local brewery or a national meat-packing factory, our food traceability team can design a custom system that fits your needs.

ABOUT PARAGON

Paragon Data Systems provides customized barcoding solutions for companies of all industries. They specialize in creating systems for customers whose requirements are outside the standard offerings of barcode systems. As important players in the barcoding game since 1995, Paragon is certified to work with and design advanced and efficient tracking systems for the most stringent food safety laws.

Food Traceability Webinar

Attend our Food Traceability and Recall Management Webinar

Paragon Presents Food Traceability: Leverage Efficiency, Avoid Liability Webinar

protect your brand with Paragon: enact a food traceability system

Join traceability experts Bri Ziganti and David Kleinman today at 11 a.m. to learn about traceability requirements and see how an improperly-managed recall can devastate your business. See consumer and FDA expectations for food safety and operations transparency as Paragon presents strategies to keep your brand safe from a P.R. nightmare.

If you have not yet registered to attend, please visit foodtraceabilityefficiency.com. If you wish to join and the webinar is already in progress, please call 800.211.0768 to receive your conference code.

Don’t let a mismanaged recall put you out of business. Paragon Data Systems can show you how to protect your company and comply with food safety and manufacturing regulations, while increasing profits and productivity. Whether your company produces, ships, or manufactures food, you are responsible for knowing where your products came from– down to the very lots they were grown in. Paragon can implement the custom infrastructure and technology needed to track and manage food from farm to table.

If you are one of the countless companies feeling intimidated by the regulations that govern food safety and manufacture, join us this Wednesday, September 16th at 11 a.m. for a free webinar. Paragon and Zebra Technologies will be exploring how the FSMA affects businesses like yours, and why implementing a traceability system can make you more efficient, more profitable, and most importantly, compliant with FDA mandates. All attendees will be entered to win a Proscan tablet!

  • Discover FSMA compliance issues you might be overlooking— and at what cost
  • Learn how our complete software package makes it easier to ensure compliance and food safety across the supply chain
  • Explore the latest mobile computing and printing solutions, and the results you can achieve
  • Follow the deployment and management of New Day Blueberry Farm’s traceability solution
  • Examine traceability ROI—with or without the incidence of a product recall

See what Traceability can do for You

Paragon supplied a comprehensive traceability and recall management system to New Day Blueberry Farms. Edward Bocock, owner of New Day Blueberry Farm, implemented our solution to manage his crop and provide better service to his customers.

“Our farm is family owned, but the area we provide to has grown exponentially over the years. Our berries are shipped all over the world- New Jersey, California, even Japan. It all depends on the order. It’s beneficial to use this program in our harvesting process. It tells us when the berries were picked and who picked them, and logs the data automatically into our records. If we ever needed to run traceability application, we can show the exact plants the fruits came from. Customers appreciate the transparency, and I appreciate the peace of mind.”

Food Traceability WebinarFollowing the mandates and guidelines of the Food Modernization Act and implementing an efficient auditing system can be intimidating. Don’t blunder through it alone! Paragon’s expert technicians are happy to walk you through the traceability process and explain how a custom system can be created to enhance your existing protocols. For more information on our traceability system or the Food Traceability Webinar, please visit our webpage or call us at 800.211.0768.

Bri Ziganti researches the ins and outs of the Food production, manufacturing and distributing industries and the mandates that govern them so Paragon can implement more efficient and compliant recall management and traceability strategies.  Subscribe to this series for a weekly update on traceability and recall issues, or call 800.211.0768 to speak directly with our sales team to see how Paragon can lessen the likelihood that your business will face a devastating recall.  You can also download our free whitepaper on Recall Management for a comprehensive look into the benefits of automation.
Like us on our Facebook or Twitter page.
join our traceability webinar to learn about food safety and recall regulations

Food Traceability: Leverage Efficiency and Avoid Liability

Sign up for our Food Traceability Webinar!

register for our webinar and enter to win a free tabletIs your business vulnerable to the catastrophic damage of a recall? If your company is still using paper-based records and has no way to efficiently track and manage your products in the supply chain, you are at risk for FDA fines and consumer backlash. A severe recall can cost tens of thousands of dollars to recover from, and may even permanently destroy your brand’s credibility.

Don’t let a mismanaged recall put you out of business. Paragon Data Systems can show you how to protect your company and comply with food safety and manufacturing regulations, while increasing profits and productivity. Whether your company produces, ships, or manufactures food, you are responsible for knowing where your products came from– down to the very lots they were grown in. Paragon can implement the custom infrastructure and technology needed to track and manage food from farm to table.

If you are one of the countless companies feeling intimidated by the regulations that govern food safety and manufacture, we invite you to register for our webinar on Wednesday, September 16th at 11 a.m. Paragon and Zebra Technologies will be exploring how the FSMA affects businesses like yours, and why implementing a traceability system can make you more efficient, more profitable, and most importantly, compliant with FDA mandates. All attendees will be entered to win a Proscan tablet!

  • Discover FSMA compliance issues you might be overlooking— and at what cost
  • Learn how our complete software package makes it easier to ensure compliance and food safety across the supply chain
  • Explore the latest mobile computing and printing solutions, and the results you can achieve
  • Follow the deployment and management of New Day Blueberry Farm’s traceability solution
  • Examine traceability ROI—with or without the incidence of a product recall

Click here to sign up for our FREE webinar and receive your chance to win an Android tablet!

See what Traceability can do for You

Paragon supplied a comprehensive traceability and recall management system to New Day Blueberry Farms. Edward Bocock, owner of New Day Blueberry Farm, implemented our solution to manage his crop and provide better service to his customers.

“Our farm is family owned, but the area we provide to has grown exponentially over the years. Our berries are shipped all over the world- New Jersey, California, even Japan. It all depends on the order. It’s beneficial to use this program in our harvesting process. It tells us when the berries were picked and who picked them, and logs the data automatically into our records. If we ever needed to run traceability application, we can show the exact plants the fruits came from. Customers appreciate the transparency, and I appreciate the peace of mind.”

Food Traceability WebinarFollowing the mandates and guidelines of the Food Modernization Act and implementing an efficient auditing system can be intimidating. Don’t blunder through it alone! Paragon’s expert technicians are happy to walk you through the traceability process and explain how a custom system can be created to enhance your existing protocols. For more information on our traceability system or the Food Traceability Webinar, please visit our webpage or call us at 800.211.0768.

Bri Ziganti researches the ins and outs of the Food production, manufacturing and distributing industries and the mandates that govern them so Paragon can implement more efficient and compliant recall management and traceability strategies.  Subscribe to this series for a weekly update on traceability and recall issues, or call 800.211.0768 to speak directly with our sales team to see how Paragon can lessen the likelihood that your business will face a devastating recall.  You can also download our free whitepaper on Recall Management for a comprehensive look into the benefits of automation.
Like us on our Facebook or Twitter page.
webinar will be rescheduled to accommodate greater interest

Traceability Webinar will be Postponed

Our Webinar Has been Temporarily Postponed

webinar will be rescheduled to accommodate greater interest

We regret to announce that the webinar scheduled for this morning is going to be postponed. Due to a greater amount of interest than anticipated, many people were not able to attend due to scheduling conflicts. We will be holding the webinar at a later date, possibly as soon as the week of July 6th. We will inform all interested attendees of the new date as soon as possible.

We deeply apologize for any inconvenience and we hope you’ll join us for our presentation soon!

Click here to receive your complementary consultation or to request more information on the Traceability system.

See what Traceability can do for You

Paragon supplied a comprehensive traceability and recall management system to New Day Blueberry Farms. Edward Bocock, owner of New Day Blueberry Farm, implemented our solution to manage his crop and provide better service to his customers.

“Our farm is family owned, but the area we provide to has grown exponentially over the years. Our berries are shipped all over the world- New Jersey, California, even Japan. It all depends on the order. It’s beneficial to use this program in our harvesting process. It tells us when the berries were picked and who picked them, and logs the data automatically into our records. If we ever needed to run traceability application, we can show the exact plants the fruits came from. Customers appreciate the transparency, and I appreciate the peace of mind.”

Food Traceability WebinarFollowing the mandates and guidelines of the Food Modernization Act and implementing an efficient auditing system can be intimidating. Don’t blunder through it alone! Paragon’s expert technicians are happy to walk you through the traceability process and explain how a custom system can be created to enhance your existing protocols. For more information on our traceability system or the Food Traceability Webinar, please visit our webpage or call us at 800.211.0768.

Bri Ziganti researches the ins and outs of the Food production, manufacturing and distributing industries and the mandates that govern them so Paragon can implement more efficient and compliant recall management and traceability strategies.  Subscribe to this series for a weekly update on traceability and recall issues, or call 800.211.0768 to speak directly with our sales team to see how Paragon can lessen the likelihood that your business will face a devastating recall.  You can also download our free whitepaper on Recall Management for a comprehensive look into the benefits of automation.
Like us on our Facebook or Twitter page.
enter to win a free tablet

Enter to Win! Attend our Food Traceability Webinar

Sign up for our Food Traceability Webinar!

enter to win a free tabletParagon Data Systems and Zebra Technologies will be hosting a free Food Traceability Webinar on Leveraging Efficiency and Avoiding Liability this Tuesday, June 23rd at 11 a.m. EST.

  • Discover FSMA compliance issues you might be overlooking— and at what cost
  • Learn how our complete software package makes it easier to ensure compliance and food safety across the supply chain
  • Explore the latest mobile computing and printing solutions, and the results you can achieve
  • Follow the deployment and management of New Day Blueberry Farm’s traceability solution
  • Examine traceability ROI—with or without the incidence of a product recall

Click here to sign up for our FREE webinar and receive your chance to win an Android tablet!

See what Traceability can do for You

Paragon supplied a comprehensive traceability and recall management system to New Day Blueberry Farms. Edward Bocock, owner of New Day Blueberry Farm, implemented our solution to manage his crop and provide better service to his customers.

“Our farm is family owned, but the area we provide to has grown exponentially over the years. Our berries are shipped all over the world- New Jersey, California, even Japan. It all depends on the order. It’s beneficial to use this program in our harvesting process. It tells us when the berries were picked and who picked them, and logs the data automatically into our records. If we ever needed to run traceability application, we can show the exact plants the fruits came from. Customers appreciate the transparency, and I appreciate the peace of mind.”

Food Traceability WebinarFollowing the mandates and guidelines of the Food Modernization Act and implementing an efficient auditing system can be intimidating. Don’t blunder through it alone! Paragon’s expert technicians are happy to walk you through the traceability process and explain how a custom system can be created to enhance your existing protocols. For more information on our traceability system or the Food Traceability Webinar, please visit our webpage or call us at 800.211.0768.

Bri Ziganti researches the ins and outs of the Food production, manufacturing and distributing industries and the mandates that govern them so Paragon can implement more efficient and compliant recall management and traceability strategies.  Subscribe to this series for a weekly update on traceability and recall issues, or call 800.211.0768 to speak directly with our sales team to see how Paragon can lessen the likelihood that your business will face a devastating recall.  You can also download our free whitepaper on Recall Management for a comprehensive look into the benefits of automation.
Like us on our Facebook or Twitter page.

RECALL REPORT: See’s Candies is Feeling the Heat this Valentine’s Day

RECALL REPORT: See’s Candies is Feeling the Heat this Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is a procrastinator’s holiday.  Burnt-out from the over stimulation of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s, most people are plain sick of shopping by the time February rolls around.  Little wonder there’s a stereotype of frazzled lovers desperately scrambling to make a reservation or pick up the requisite flowers and chocolates– whatever’s left of them, anyways– the day of the 14th.

However, this year you may be happy you waited to buy those red and pink wrapped candies if, like me, you’re a hardcore fan of See’s.

The well-known “old fashioned” chocolatier powerhouse announced a recall of their popular “Classic Red Hearts” 8 oz. Chocolate Box just days before one of their busiest and most profitable holidays (second only to Christmas, depending on who you ask).

Operating over 200 stores in the U.S. alone, See’s accidentally distributed the boxes with undeclared nuts nationwide.  Due to an unfortunate label mixup (Psst,– we could help you with that!), some of the boxes don’t disclose that the candies may contain tree nuts, a dangerous mistake for anyone with a highly sensitive nut allergy.  Consumers with nut sensitivities are encouraged to return this product at retail locations for a full refund or exchange.  Thankfully, to date no illnesses have been reported.

 

So, the million dollar question: will this recall affect See’s holiday sales?valentine's day recall

See’s is a curious brand.  Hardly a threat to America’s chocolate giants (Mars and Hershey’s) they’ve nevertheless occupied a comfortable niche in the sweets market ever since it opened in L.A. in 1921.  The company’s commitment to doing things much the way it always has, including using fresh ingredients with no added preservatives, has granted See’s a fiercely loyal following.  Even many of the factory employees are still just as enthusiastic about the brand as they were when they first joined the assembly line decades ago.  But perhaps its biggest recommendation comes from the company’s owner– a Mr. Warren Buffett– who still maintains that of all his investments, yes, even Coca-Cola, See’s remains his sentimental favorite.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt that See’s pulled in a cool $82 million in revenue last year, a staggering increase of 333% since Buffett’s purchase in 1972.  That’s enough of a margin to make anyone a bit misty-eyed.

Based on See’s steady growth, their quick and efficient response to the recall, and their undeniably delicious product, I certainly doubt they’ll see much of a dip in their profits or their loyal customers.  People are serious about their chocolate.

I can tell you one thing: recall or not, no one is coming between me and my dark chocolate cherry cordials this Valentine’s Day.

 

 

Bri Ziganti researches the ins and outs of the Food production, manufacturing and distributing industries and the mandates that govern them so Paragon can implement more efficient and compliant recall management and traceability strategies.  Subscribe to this series for a weekly update on traceability and recall issues, or call 800.211.0768 to speak directly with our sales team to see how Paragon can lessen the likelihood that your business will face a devastating recall.  You can also download our free whitepaper on Recall Management for a comprehensive look into the benefits of automation.
Continue the discussion of the “RECALL REPORT: See’s Candies” edition at Paragon’s Facebook or Twitter page.

Reduce the Risks of Lawsuits and Brand Meltdown with Recall Management Solutions from Paragon

traceability advert-01Traceability” isn’t just a buzz word in food manufacturing today; it’s required by the FDA, and you’ll want to do it right.  No manufacturer wants to distribute unsafe products, but in today’s world of complicated, large scale food manufacturing, mistakes can happen, and these mistakes have the ability to negatively affect millions.

Fortunately, intuitive technology exists to help ensure that manufacturers always know where their food products are located, where they came from and where they’re going.  This is especially important when food-based recalls occur.  These recalls have been increasing in severity and complexity over the past several years, due to that fact that most big manufacturers are multinational and their distribution is so widespread.

Recalls can be detrimental financially, including the direct costs that come from destruction of tainted food products, the removal of products from the market, compliance costs, media costs, replacement products and legal fees.  However, the repercussions also extend beyond government penalties and lost production, as recalls can also quickly have a negative effect on customer loyalty. Sunland’s disastrous handling of their 2012 recall of salmonella-tainted peanut butter was so damaging to their brand that the entire company, once an industry powerhouse, went bankrupt under the sheer weight of lawsuits and the refusal of consumers and businesses to continue using their products.  If your business relies on inefficient recording, tracking, and reporting protocols, your brand could face a similar catastrophic meltdown.  When a simple Tweet or share on Facebook can quickly turn a small mistake into a large public scandal, it’s easy to see why recalls can become global in no time, and why manufacturers are expected to quickly identify and pull all affected products- no matter where they are in the supply chain.

For food traceability systems to be truly effective, there must be a shift to automated processes so that high quality data is stored, captured and synchronized automatically.  This allows for a central database of information within the supply chain, creating a clear connection of operations between distribution centers, manufacturers, suppliers, transportation operations and warehouses.  Businesses using non-automated methods of recall often waste more than necessary, or fail to react fast enough to prevent food-borne illness.

Investing in mobile technologies and hardware such as RFID, rugged mobile computers, and bar code scanners can help lessen or remove the burden of maintaining data accuracy by creating real-time synchronization of product data across the supply chain, and keeping easily-accessible records compliant with the transparency and reporting standards set by the FDA.

For more information about how you can better incorporate food traceability into your manufacturing practices, contact Paragon Data Systems today.  Our knowledgeable experts are happy to help.  You can also download our free whitepaper on Recall Management for a comprehensive look into the benefits of automation.

 

 

 

 

Bri Ziganti researches the ins and outs of the Food production, manufacturing and distributing industries and the mandates that govern them so Paragon can implement more efficient and compliant recall management and traceability strategies.  Subscribe to this series for a weekly update on traceability and recall issues, or call 800.211.0768 to speak directly with our sales team to see how Paragon can lessen the likelihood that your business will face a devastating recall.
Continue the discussion on Food Traceability at Paragon’s Facebook or Twitter page.