Chipotle or Nah?

Alessia Bicknese

Would you rather die of an E. coli infection or never eat Chipotle again? Well, according to the entire world, there is no way America could live without Chipotle – even if it means eating to your death.

But why is this the case? Why is it that nothing can take us from the infected fast-food Mexican chain? We’d rather be infected by E. coli from eating a three pound burrito, instead of going to Moe’s or Salsa Fresca – or how about making a steak burrito at home? Why on earth would we do that when we could pay ten dollars to eat E. coli? Apparently, Chipotle has set up a date in February to hold a food safety meeting regarding the infection.

I took the time to interview a faithful Chipotle fanatic here at the University of New Haven,

Thomas DellaMorte, to find out how he feels about the entire buzz.

ALESSIA: By now you’ve heard about the E. coli outbreak that Chipotle has been dealing with. Has that stopped you from eating Chipotle?

THOMAS: No, I love Chipotle. I will always want a steak burrito. I want one right now even though we’re talking about E. coli.

A: Why is that, though? Even though you know there is a possible infection in the meat you are eating, you still want to eat it despite the potential consequence.

T: It’s still yummy. I’m not too concerned about the meat when I see them making it right in front of me and I’d be able to see if there was something with it.

A: Fair enough. Even though they are cooking it in front of you and you don’t think you see anything wrong with it, what if there really was something wrong with the meat? Why can’t you go somewhere else or make one at home?

T: I think with all of the hype about this, I think that Chipotle has stepped up their standards as far as checking their stock. If I want Chipotle, I’m going to Chipotle and that’s all I’m trying to say here.

A: Have you ever tried the alternative to Chipotle – Moe’s or Salsa Fresca?

T: I have never been to Salsa Fresca; I have been to Moe’s – only a few times. I got a steak burrito there and that’s what I always get at Chipotle and it is just not comparable. I see it as stepping down in quality.

A: But isn’t Chipotle stepping down in quality by having meat that may be infected? You would rather eat something infected than get a steak burrito somewhere else?

T: I don’t think that the potential E. coli infection speaks to the quality of the burrito. Instead, it refers to how they maintain their standards. So, they [Chipotle] have a delicious burrito and I am waiting to see how they handle this crisis as a company, which speaks to Chipotle consumers – such as myself.

A: Okay, my final question. How would you feel if at their meeting in February, Chipotle decides to shut down?

T: I would be upset that I could no longer get their steak burrito. I supposed I would go to other burrito places, but ultimately the decision would sadden me as a customer of theirs.

After interviewing Thomas, I decided to take a poll. I asked college students a simple question: Would you risk getting E. coli just for some Chipotle? Out of the 20 students that I personally asked, only three voted against Chipotle’s favor, saying that they would rather eat somewhere else or that Chipotle is just is not worth it. However, there was a lot to say in Chipotle’s favor. Michael Quick, a recent UNH graduate, stated that he has “already eaten at a Chipotle restaurant, fully aware of the ‘outbreak.’” He continued, saying “personally, I feel as though stuff like this gets blown way out of proportion and sensationalized. The closest any Chipotle incident has been to us is Boston, I think, so I don’t really see a huge concern. But if I get sick, feel free to say ‘I told you so.’”

While some have mentioned other health issues we shrug off everyday that are far worse than this particular one, others, like Meagan Cauda, founding member of Alpha Sigma Alpha, say that they would “never eat it again” specifically because “Panera is way better anyway!”

Clearly, Chipotle has a faithful consumer track and E. coli does not decide for those who have always been in favor of their steak burritos. You decide @ChargerBulletin on Twitter! Mention us and take the poll!