More bad news for Chipotle fans as the chain is once again being investigated for E. coli contamination at restaurants in several states. This most recent Chipotle E. coli outbreak reportedly began with a strain of the bacteria found between November 18 and November 26 at Chipotle restaurants in Kansas, North Dakota, and Oklahoma.
Founder and CEO Steve Ells assured fans of the chain that the E. coli had been eradicated last week. “We have thoroughly tested our food, we have thoroughly tested our surfaces, and we are confident that Chipotle is a safe place to eat.”
The particular strain uncovered in this outbreak is rare, according to the Center for Disease Control, and this event has therefore been judged to be independent from other recent scares taking place over the past few months, beginning in July, when five people became ill after eating in a Seattle-area Chipotle location, and 234 customers became ill with norovirus at a Chipotle in California. In August and September, 64 people were sickened by salmonella-tainted tomatoes in Minnesota. An October outbreak affected over 40 people, with some reports claiming up to 50 people were taken ill, and an early December incident saw over 140 students at Boston College falling ill with norovirus.
Given the presence of 3 individual microbes leading to illness, found in restaurants across the United States, the problem is not isolated and likely stems from one of Chipotle’s big suppliers.
“There’s a problem within the company,” Michael Doyle, the director of the center for food safety at the University of Georgia, told Bloomberg.
Many were displeased with Chipotle’s way of dealing with the situation, including Portland native and Chipotle customer Chris Collins, who became ill during the October E. coli outbreak, Bloomberg reported. “People could die from this, and they were so smug,” Collins said.
Following this most recent incident in December, Ells told NBC that, “The procedures we’re putting in place are so above industry norms that we are going to be the safest place to eat.” According to Bloomberg, these procedures will include shifting some food preparation away from on-site kitchens to centralized kitchens.
The brand earned its fame through its powerful marketing campaign in favor of fresh, natural ingredients. Chipotle made headlines in April by going 100 percent GMO-free and has long touted the importance of an all-natural approach to fast food.
Previously on Organic Authority
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