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Foodborne Illnesses in the U.S. Are More Common Than You Think

Karen Devereaux

Posted on September 10, 2018 13:43

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 6 people in the U.S. end up with a foodborne illness annually. So the next time you're feeling fatigued, have a fever and muscle aches, it maybe more than just a little work-related stress.

From salmonella poisoning in Kenya, to a 30-day stint with Cholera in the Dominican Republic, I have had my fair share of food-related illnesses.  As a traveler, you take the necessary precautions and expect a virus or two to slip through the cracks, but should the same precautions be taken state-side? 

Over the years, there have been countless reports of foodborne illnesses in the United States.  Between March 3, 2018 and August 7, 2018, Kellogg's Sugar Smacks were responsible for infecting 130 people (across 36 states), with Salmonella Mbandaka. 

While it has not been reported if the outbreak is officially under control, the law firm of Marler Clark is on the case and have been responsible for securing more than $650M in damages for its clients.  Yet the bigger issue is why do these instances continue to occur in the U.S. in the first place?

One thought stems from poor food handling and unsanitary working/manufacturing conditions.  And one of the greatest offenders in modern history, is at the hands of Chipotle Mexican Grill.

Between 2008 and 2018, Chipotle was directly responsible for 11 separate accounts of foodborne illnesses -- ranging from hepatitis and E-coli to norovirus and salmonella.  This decade-long span has resulted in hundreds of consumers being hospitalized, countless run-ins with the Department of Health and a slew of negative press. 

Each time, Chipotle weathered a tarnished reputation and decreased profit margins, but relentlessly fought its way back to the top.  Their recovery process has included intensive training (coaching and developing staff on proper food handling), corporate rebranding and utilizing crafty marketing ploys (welcoming customers back with a free burrito in 2016). 

To the dismay of many, Chipotle's midas touch seduces consumers time and time again, positioning them back in the fast-casual dining arena, confidently poised against competitors like Moe's, Qdoba and Panera Bread.  The notion of a free burrito must have worked, as Chipotle's third quarter FY18 earnings have increased by 8.3% over second quarter's earnings, equating to $1.3B in revenue.

Personally, I have vowed never to eat at Chipotle again.  After 30 days of stomach issues and losing 40 pounds as a result, the last thing I need is another episode of gut-wrenching agony.  Yes, I was happy for the weight loss, but feeling as though I had the plague is not my ideal way of becoming waif-like. 

For those of you who continue to dine at Chipotle, on Sugar Smacks, or on McDonald's salads, just remember that according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1 in 6 people in the U.S. end up with a foodborne illness annually.  So the next time you're feeling fatigued, have a fever and muscle aches, it maybe more than just a little work-related stress.

Karen Devereaux

Posted on September 10, 2018 13:43

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Source: NPR

From Romaine lettuce to McDonald's salads, Goldfish crackers and Taco Bell queso, we hear more about food recalls and outbreaks....

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