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Chipotle takes steps to restore image

Company says sales improving but it expects higher costs in 2016.

While Chipotle's latest financial results showed that sales are improving, they continue to be significantly lower as the company takes steps to try to restore its image from the foodborne illness outbreaks that significantly affected business last fall into winter.

Since the beginning of the year, Chipotle has conducted company-wide training on its new food safety protocols and offered free food to customers, but this week, the company showed just how serious it is about polishing its tarnished image by announcing that it has hired Dr. James "Jim" Marsden as executive director of food safety.

Calling him one of the nation's foremost authorities on food safety, Chipotle said in a March 15 filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) that Marsden “is actively working to further our food safety efforts and continue the progress we have already made towards establishing Chipotle as a leader in food safety.”

Marsden was previously a member of the faculty at Kansas State University's animal science and industry department as the Regent's distinguished professor of food safety and security. He also served as associate director of the Biosecurity Research Institute at Kansas State University.

Marsden's past research focused on the safety of meat products, including the control of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in raw ground beef and other processed beef products and Listeria monocytogenes in processed meats.

He has served as senior science adviser for the North American Meat Science Assn. and has been involved in food safety training for the meat industry. The author of numerous publications and book chapters on food safety and quality, Marsden has served on numerous advisory boards for companies that provide food safety technologies to the meat industry.

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