E. Coli Outbreak at Chipotle

Chipotle, one of the most popular food chains that has increased in popularity the last few years is now under investigation due to multiple cases of E.coli. Up to 45 people reported eating at Chipotle within a week of showing symptoms. According to The Associated Press, on October 31st, Authorities announced an investigation into a food-borne illness tied to Chipotle restaurants in Washington state and Oregon. The restaurant chain then voluntarily closed 43 sites in the two states. Since then, the outbreak has expanded to six states. No deaths have been reported; however, over 50 people have been affected with E.coli linked to eating at Chipotle since October.  Most E.coli strains are harmless, but some serotypes can cause serious food poisoning. Recently, it has been discovered that the E.coli came from Chipotle’s lettuce. Although the E.coli outbreak seems to have been solved, Chipotle’s sales and business has plummeted. The company said sales sank 36 percent at locations in January. This number is large, but not totally shocking. It is human nature to not go somewhere dangerous or eat somewhere that has bad food, or in this case bacteria ridden food. Even here in Fredericksburg at our local Chipotle, the lines have been noticeably smaller. All Chipotle restaurants closed on February 8th for a companywide meeting on food safety. It is unclear whether or not the E.coli will be forever solved in Chipotle’s food, and it is unpredictable if their profits and business will slowly start to pick up.