Chipotle Closes Down 43 Restaurants Due to E. Coli Outbreak


Eating the delicious food at Chipotle has come with a large price to over two dozen people in the northwestern United States.

Olivia Pelaez, Staff Writer

Chipotle has recently been linked to an outbreak of E. coli in the pacific northwest, mainly Washington and Oregon. Over 37 people have fallen ill, most of them having eaten recently in Chipotle. Although only a few restaurants were under investigation for possible contamination, Chipotle decided to close down temporarily 37 restaurants for its own accord for safety reasons and ensure that the disease does not continue to spread. Even though no one has died yet from the outbreak, several have been hospitalized and officials are worried of the damages that the outbreak could cause.

E. coli is a harmful bacteria that causes various symptoms including fever and bloody diarrhea. It has been linked with kidney failure after treating the disease, in some cases leading to death. Chipotle has been urging its customers of the area to go get checked if they have experienced any of the symptoms linked to E. coli.

The people who have caught the disease are being tested to find out exactly which strand of the E. coli bacteria is involved in the outbreak to be better equipped to identify it at its origin. This can help control the outbreak and limit how much the disease can spread possible saving lives. Officials believe that the disease has probably contaminated more people who simply haven’t reported it or tried to seek medical attention to treat it.

Although various health officials suspect the outbreak is linked to eating Chipotle, not all the contaminated people have reported eating Chipotle recently. While tests continue to be done, the possibility remains that the disease started in a food contributor to the restaurant that also sends out food to other places such as grocery stores, placing even more people at risk. Health inspectors believe the most likely culprit is some type of produce, such as tomatoes or lettuce. All of Chipotle’s food is being individually tested to find where the disease originated exactly.

“I find [the E. coli outbreak] pretty weird because I think anything can cause E. coli and I think…the people who did get E. coli could have eaten other things. That could be the cause of it, not really Chipotle. Chipotle is really good and it would be a shame if it had to close down for the people who don’t know how to cook things correctly and don’t check what they eat,” said freshman Camila Torres.

This is not the first time that Chipotle has been linked with an outbreak of an illness. It is in fact the third time this year that Chipotle has been accused of spreading an illness, cases previously occurring in California and Minnesota both in August. After the famous chain closed the 43 stores, it it ensuring that each restaurant is deeply cleaned to get rid of any remaining traces of the disease. The company itself is also testing all of the foods and food companies that supply it to help the search for the origin of the disease. It also reports hiring two separate firms to determine how beneficial their procedures for food safety currently are and how to possibly improve them, making the restaurant a safer place to eat at.

There is already a case of a customer suing the company for the contraction of E. coli, claiming $75,000 in damages. Chipotle has been taking multiple steps to try and fix its mistakes. The company is trying to ensure that these instances stop happening as often as well as trying to help with those already affected by the disease.

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