From October 2015 to now, the popular Mexican-themed restaurant, Chipotle, has suffered from outbreaks of E.coli.
E.coli is a bacterium commonly found in the intestines, where it usually causes no harm. However, some strains can cause severe food poisoning.
All across the country, cases of food poisoning caused by Chipotle have been continuing to pop up. As of January 27, 55 people in 13 different states have been infected by E.coli. The states where E.coli has been connected to Chipotle consumption are California, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington. In December, five people were infected with the rare E.coli strain O26 in Kansas, North Dakota, and Oklahoma.
Center for Disease Control has performed health inspections at Chipotle chains around the country and can’t figure out what the E.coli is coming from. Some people suggest that beef from Australia is the source of E.coli. However, data from Chipotle has shown no connection to ordering Australian beef.
Junior Lizzy Herndon experienced the Chipotle food crisis first hand. While Herndon didn’t experience E.coli, she did have an uncomfortable encounter. Herndon said, “while I was eating my burrito bowl I found an artery mixed in my chicken.” Luckily she didn’t eat it and she didn’t get sick from the food. Chipotle was sorry for the inconvenience and gave her a gift card to use the next time.
This crisis that is facing Chipotle has really hurt their business. The once booming chain is now struggling. According to Chipotle CEO Steve Ells, “the chain’s stock was trading at 754 dollars in August 2015 and hit a low of 404 dollars in January.”
On February 8, every Chipotle chain closed for a four-hour food safety meeting. They discussed new food preparation protocols and implemented a new paid sick leave plan to make sure employees stay home when sick. Chipotle was sorry for the inconvenience so if you texted “raincheck” to 888-222, Chipotle gave you a voucher for a free burrito.
Chipotle continues to make their food safer and make sure no more E.coli breakouts occur.