Category Archives: Comm 235

Chipotle on the runs

This week one of the most popular fast food restaurants, Chipotle, was accused of giving over 30 people E. Coli in the states of Washington and Oregon. Upon this news, Chipotle immediately closed 43 restaurants in those two states out of caution.

Katrina Hedberg, an epidemiologist with the Oregon Health Authority, said there are 12 confirmed cases of E. Coli in the state and at least eight of those people became ill after eating at Chipotle. While in Washington it was reported there were 25 people sickened and 23 of those people ate at Chipotle.

Hedberg is encouraging anyone who has eaten at Chipotle, and is experiencing symptoms of extreme diarrhea, to immediately seek health care.

Along with closing 43 restaurants, Chipotle also stated in their press release that they would be taking the following actions:

  • Conducting additional deep cleaning and full sanitization of its restaurants in the area;
  • Conducting environmental testing in its restaurants, and food testing in its restaurants and distribution centers in addition to testing being conducted by health department officials;
  • Replacing all food items in the restaurants we closed, out of an abundance of caution;
  • Batch testing some ingredients before resupplying;
  • Continuing to help in the investigation; and
  • Retaining two preeminent food safety consulting firms (including Seattle-based IEH Laboratories and Consulting Group) to help the company assess and improve upon its already high standards for food safety.

Steven Ellis, Chairman and Co-CEO of Chipotle said in a statement “The safety of our customers and integrity of our food supply has always been our highest priority.” Ellis continued to say they work with very fresh ingredients to serve customers with the best quality and push themselves to do better.

The investigating health officials have determined no official cause, but continued investigation is occurring.

It’s safe to say I’ll be avoiding Chipotle, possibly all fast food chains that sell meat products, until the investigation is wrapped up. I wonder if this Chipotle E. Coli outbreak has anything to do with the 167 K of ground beef that the USDA recalled earlier today?

This is what the public is saying about Chipotle:

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One bad egg

CEO of American Egg Board, Joann Ivy recently stepped down from her position that was set to end December 31st. The early resignation is believed to have happened because of a release of emails showing Ivy “trying to stop the sale” of Hampton Creek’s product “Just Mayo,” a vegan mayonnaise sold at Whole Foods. The emails showed the board discussing the companies name “Just Mayo” and whether to report it to the FDA for being misleading. Mike Spencer, who is a leader at AEB(American Egg Board) joked about killing Hampton Creeks CEO while many others chimed in with jokes like putting a “gangster-style” hit on the CEO. Emails also showed Ivy accepting a consultant offer to keep “Just Mayo” off of the shelves.

The USDA runs the AEB board and stated they encourage a level playing field to promote all agricultural endeavors. They also stated they don’t “condone any effort to limit competing products in commerce.” The USDA is working on an administrative review of the American Egg Board and says with all this information it will take some time to complete. I find it interesting that the company behind the controversy is the one investigating it.

In a statement about the investigation of the American Egg Board, Hampton Creek Chief Executive Josh Tetrick said “Some, not all, of these check off programs act in a way that is not aligned with building a healthier and more sustainable food system. It’s our hope that this is the first step toward reforming them. The actions that were in the case against Hampton Creek are actually against building a food system that’s for everyone.”

AEB has still not put out a statement or posted anything about the resignation on any social media but maybe their CEO stepping down was that statement. From the public relations standpoint I think Ivy was right in stepping down because it shows that the company is taking action in relation to the investigation.

What’s your review on Amazon?

As many people rely on reviews to make purchases online, Amazon was recently found suing over 1000 people for fake product reviews.

The target people they are suing comes from the website Fiverr.com where many account holders were writing reviews for as little as $5.

In the complaint filed by Amazon in the Seattle court it reads “Most of the defendants offer positive or 5-star reviews for Amazon sellers’ products. Indeed, many encourage the Amazon seller to create the text for their own reviews.”

Amazon was very upset as the fraud reviews are “misleading Amazon’s customers and tarnishing Amazons brand for their own profit.” According to the complaint.

In attempt investigation to find these frauds posting reviews on Amazon, they bought fake reviews in the process.

I know as a Prime member of Amazon I question after hearing what has happened if some of the products I buy have a lot of fake reviews. I wonder if this will be a problem in the future.

I think that it’s a good thing on Amazon’s part to perform a investigation on the fake reviews because it shows customers like myself that Amazon doesn’t take fraud actions lightly.

While for the company Fiverr they are said to be working with Amazon and released a statement that said, “we actively remove services that violate our terms of use. “

They continued to say merchants paying for people to write illegitimate reviews can happen to any online platform.

Julie Law who is spokesperson for Amazon said “We continue to use a number of mechanisms to detect and remove the small fraction of reviews that violate our guidelines.” Law also stated on behalf of Amazon that there “goal is to make reviews as useful as possible for customers.”

Fake reviews can be a problem for any online company and I think Amazon has done well in letting the public know what has happened and what they’re doing to fix the problem.

FanDuel or FanFake?

This past week Draft Kings and FanDuel were involved in a scandal with a suspicious employee.

$350,000 was won by Ethan Haskell, a Draft Kings employee, on the fantasy-sport website FanDuel. At that same time in the third week of games, DraftKings admitted to releasing important data.

With many fans upset, Fortune Reporter Daniel Roberts wrote why so many people are calling this a scandal. Roberts wrote, “Ethan Haskell had access to DraftKings ownership data, meaning that he may have seen which NFL players had been selected by DraftKings users, and by how many users. That information would have helped him select his own lineup on FanDuel because the two sites work so similarly and have the exact same “price” for each player in a given week.”

I am not surprised that Haskell is being called out; from all of the data collected it seems obvious that he cheated. I would be very upset if I played fantasy football on either of these sites and found out what happened.

The companies joined together to combat the allegations that have been said about them. They released a joint statement that said “Both companies have strong policies in place to ensure that employees do not misuse any information at their disposal and strictly limit access to company data to only those employees who require it to do their jobs. Employees with access to this data are rigorously monitored by internal fraud control teams, and we have no evidence that anyone has misused it.”

They later added to the statement saying they will no more allow employees to enter the fantasy sport competitions for money.

After releasing the second statement it sounds like the company knew they were guilty and are trying to cover their tracks.

DraftKings has been defending allegations against their employee. They sent a statement to fortune.com and said how they have been conducting a thorough investigation by examining records of internal communication, talking to employees, and sharing information with FanDuel. The evidence showed Haskell received the data at 1:40 p.m. on Sunday and the lineups on FanDuel locked at 1:00 p.m.

Justine Sacco who is the director of communications at FanDuel said, “We operate based on the trust of our players.”

After Sacco’s statement the conversation grew on Twitter with upset fans as two years ago she posted an offensive tweet that got her fired from her job.

One person or companies mistake can always be remembered.

Are your Cheerios good or bad for you?

This past Monday 1.8 million boxes of Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios were recalled because wheat flour was used in making the cereal.

General Mills sent out a press release that said “The use of wheat flour means the cereals are not gluten-free, and people with conditions like wheat allergies or celiac diseases who consume it might suffer and allergic reaction or discomfort.”

President of the cereal division Jim Murphy posted in the company blog, “Our Lodi production facility lost rail service for a time and our gluten-free oat flour was being off-loaded from rail cars to trucks for delivery to our facility on the dates in question.” Murphy also admits he is “embarrassed and truly sorry.”

I think it was a smart move for Murphy to post in the company blog as he explains how he genuinely cares what happened and is embarrassed.

On the General Mills website and via social media they shared information on how consumers can identify the boxes that have been recalled.

General Mills said the boxes affected are for Honey Nut Cheerios “better if used by” July 12 to 25 2016, and Cheerios “better if used by” July 14 to July 17, 2016.

On Twitter General Mills tweeted “We are so sorry to announce we’re recalling some of the boxes Cheerios/Honey Nut Cheerios. Please view image below and share.” Attached was a statement from General Mills as well as a picture showing what dates are being recalled and where to find the date on your box.

I love how in the message from the tweeted picture General Mills says, “we will work extremely hard to earn your trust back.” To me that shows they really care about their consumers and what their company stands for. I haven’t lost trust in General Mills because they are backing up what they have done and offering a replacement box or even my money back.

Reputation is everything.

For 78 years Volkswagen has been known as a trustworthy company. Recently that reputation was flipped upside down.

Volkswagen is currently in turmoil as they “fitted defeat devices in millions of diesel cars worldwide to cheat government emissions tests.” reported telegraph.com. The defeat device activated anti-pollution functions when the car senses it’s getting an emissions test.

The Environmental Protection Agency recalled nearly half a million of Volkswagens diesel vehicles from all the way back to 2009.

Volkswagen CEO, Martin Winterkorn issued a statement about what happened and said “ We at Volkswagen will do everything that must be done in order to re-establish that trust that so many people have placed in us, and we will do everything necessary in order to reverse the damage this has caused.”

A couple days later Winterkorn stepped down from his position and said he “was not aware of any wrongdoing on his part.” Former Porsche brand boss Matthias Mueller replaced Winterkorn.

I think Winterkorn knew what was going on all a long but didn’t think he would ever be caught. I don’t think he wanted anything else he had done wrong to come out either so he chose to step down.

A few days later it came out that Audi Luxury cars, whose parent company is Volkswagen, were also fitted with the same defeat devices.

Juergen De Graeve a spokesman from Audi reported “We’re working at full speed to find a technical solution, once we have that solution, we’ll write to customers and we’ll upgrade the cars so that they’re within emissions regulations.”

I think Audi is taking a hit they may have not been aware of the cheating their parent company was partaking in.

The New York Times reported that in the United States Volkswagen will “stop selling 2015 and 2016 Volkswagen and Audi models equipped with 4-cylinder turbo diesel engines.”

Volkswagen will also deal with financial penalties as they violated two parts of the U.S Federal Clean Air Act.

Lies go up in flames

Since 2009 Stephen Rannazzisi , A cast member from the hit show “The League”, has lied and said he was in the 9/11 terrorist attack on the twin towers. Rannazzisi originally claimed that he was working for Merril Lynch on the 54th floor.

On September 16th Rannazzisi tweeted, “After I moved with my wife to Los Angeles from New York City in 2001 shortly after 9/11, I told people that I was in one of the World Trade Center on 9/11. It wasn’t true. I was in Manhattan but working in a building in midtown and I was not at the Trade Center on that day.” He goes on to explain how sorry he is and that he had made a terrible mistake.

I think it was a good idea that Rannazzisi admitted the truth rather than continue to lie, but I wonder if there was a better way to admit it. I feel a public statement would have been better rather than post 8 different tweets.

As you can guess fans and friends were not very happy about this. Pete Davidson a cast member from “Saturday Night Live” replied “Its ok @StevenRannazzisi people make mistakes…. can’t wait to meet my dad for lunch.”. Davidson had lost his father on 9/11.

To add fuel to Rannazzisi’s flame his sponsorship with Buffalo Wild Wings seemed to be over. Buffalo Wild Wings wrote a statement that said, “We are disappointed to learn of Steve’s misrepresentations regarding the events of September 11, 2001. We are currently re-evaluating our relationship with Steve pending a review of all the facts.”

FX Network that airs Rannazzisi’s show “The League” says they are disappointed that he has lied but believe in his apology.

Rannazzi has also gotten backlash from other major sources such as nydailynews.com and Time magazine.

I think the best idea for Rannazzisi now is to stay quite and let things settle down, because the more statements he makes the more it sounds like lies.