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At least four separate outbreaks of food poisoning at Chipotle sickened over 500 people with Salmonella, Norovirus, and E. coli in late 2015. At least seven lawsuits have been filed by victims of the outbreaks.
January 15, 2016 – On Feb. 8, Chipotle plans to close all its restaurants for a few hours so that employees can listen to Chipotle executives lay out everything they know about the E. coli outbreak and what they’re doing to ensure it doesn’t recur.
Chipotle already has said its new food-safety steps include testing ingredients for pathogens at the farm level, and cutting and washing ingredients such as lettuce and tomatoes at a central kitchen.
More than 140 Boston College students have reported norovirus symptoms after eating at Chipotle in Cleveland Circle, reports boston.com. The Boston Public Health Commission said Wednesday that laboratory testing had confirmed the presence of norovirus. Additional testing came back negative for E. Coli.
Norovirus is spread can be spread by infected people, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminate surfaces, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In response to the outbreak, Boston College issued an email to students with tips about caring for the infected, as well as a plan the university has taken, which includes doubled cleaning efforts and closed self-services areas in dining halls, such as salad bars. The dining halls will also have “flu buddy packs” available that the students can purchase.
City inspectors closed the Boston College Chipotle “until further notice” after reporting three critical health violations after inspection. The three violations include (1) an employee coming to work sick, (2) chicken and steak on the service line being held at 128 degrees, not the required 140 degrees, (3) and multiple reports of food-borne illness from the location.
At least 17 Chipotle restaurants in Minnesota have been linked to a Salmonella outbreak that sickened at least 45 people and sent five to the hospital. Investigators with the Minnesota Department of Health have stated that tomatoes were the cause of the outbreak and that they have already been swapped out from all other Chipotle restaurants in the state.
Interviews with 34 of those sickened found that 32 ate at Chipotle’s in the Twin Cities, St. Cloud or Rochester. The known cases involved people who dined between Aug. 16 and Aug. 26, and became sick between Aug. 20 and Aug. 29.
Salmonella infections may cause diarrhea, stomach pains and fever, which typically last 5 to 7 days. About one in four cases requires hospitalization. The Health Department listed the following Chipotle restaurants linked to the outbreak: 7 Corners (Minneapolis), Bloomington, Calhoun, Crystal, Hopkins, Maple Grove, Maplewood, Minnetonka, Richfield, Ridgedale, Rochester, Shoreview, St. Cloud, St. Louis Park, St. Paul Lawson, Uptown, and U.S. Bank Plaza (Minneapolis).
December 21, 2015 – The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has opened an investigation into another Chipotle outbreak that has sickened five people in the states of Kansas (1), North Dakota (1), and Oklahoma (3). All of the victims reported to have ate at Chipotle before getting sick. The illnesses are said to have occurred between November 18th and 26th.
“One of the major reasons people went to Chipotle was because the food was good and good for you. The food came from places that were nearby and far away. Chipotle represented this strange gray area where health-conscious food could be mass produced.” – read more from this blog post by Wade Abed.
December 18, 2015 – The CDC issued an update reporting seven more illnesses, which brings the total to 53 infections in nine states throughout the country: California (3), Illinois (1), Maryland (1), Minnesota (2), New York (1), Ohio (3), Oregon (13), Pennsylvania (2), and Washington state (27).
Highlights – 20 ill people have been hospitalized. There have been no reports of hemolytic uremic syndrome and no deaths. The majority of illnesses have been reported from Washington and Oregon during October 2015. Evidence available at this time suggests that a common meal item or ingredient served at Chipotle restaurants in several states is likely the source of this outbreak. The investigation has not identified what specific food is linked to the outbreak. 88% of 52 ill people interviewed reported eating at a Chipotle restaurant in the week before their illness started. Chipotle temporarily closed 43 restaurants in Washington and Oregon for cleaning in mid-October.
An outbreak of Norovirus at a Chipotle restaurant located in Simi Valley, California has sickened at least 80 customers and 18 employees in late 2015. The restaurant closed for cleaning and infected employees were not allowed to work. The Ventura County Environmental Health Division issued a report on the outbreak, warning: “Norovirus is a very contagious virus. You can get norovirus from an infected person, contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces. The virus causes your stomach or intestines or both to get inflamed (acute gastroenteritis). This leads to stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.”
If you or somebody you know has been diagnosed with food poisoning after eating at Chipotle, contact us at Knutson+Casey immediately for a free consultation. We accept cases in all 50 states.