Chipotle responds to nationwide E. coli outbreak

Philtrina Farquharson, Staff Writer

Colorado-based Chipotle Mexican Grill is known for it’s fresh and natural ingredients, but lately consumers have been questioning their food selections after several incidents of E. Coli have occurred.

According to the New York Times, Chipotle has shut down 43 of its Northwest restaurants after health officials discovered multiple links connecting the illness to the chain restaurant. Of the 45 people who reported illness in the United States, 43 had eaten Chipotle within a week before feeling sick, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While cases of E. Coli usually resolve themselves within a week, the infection can cause vomiting, stomach cramps and bloody diarrhea. Uncooked meat and raw dairy, fruits and vegetables are common sources of the infection.

One person in New York has since been affected by this outbreak. 16 people have been hospitalized since the start of the outbreak, but no deaths have been reported.

After finding out that Chipotle had yet another outbreak, junior Solomon Scott Brown believes the chain should take responsibility in maintaining and serving food.

“Sometimes it’s hard to remember Chipotle is still a fast food restaurant at the end of the day,” he said. “It is also important to consider the type of food Chipotle serves; important procedures should be taken when serving fast food.”

Since this epidemic, Chipotle shares have dropped. This is the first time sales have declined since the burrito chain was separated from the McDonald’s Corporation in 2006.

The company’s shares plunged 12 percent, making this Chipotle’s worst drop in three years.

These E. coli cases are not the first of Chipotle restaurant outbreaks. The chain suffered a Salmonella outbreak in Minnesota in early September. However, unlike the E. Coli outbreak, Chipotle was able to maintain and control the disease within state lines.

“We have offered our full cooperation to assist in their investigation, and replaced our entire supply of the suspect ingredient in Minnesota to ensure that it continues to be safe to eat in our restaurants,” Chipotle Communications Director Chris Arnold said in a statement back in September.

In a statement released on their website, Chipotle announced the steps it has taken to prevent the infection from spreading further.

Precautions include intense cleaning at sites of infection, replacing ingredients at these sites, changing food preparing procedures and testing key ingredients in their food, among others.