Chipotle reopens stores in Northwest, E. coli outbreak source remains unidentified
On Wednesday, Chipotle Mexican Grill reopened all 43 restaurants in the Seattle, WA and Portland, OR markets the company voluntarily closed after an E. coli outbreak that sickened 42 people in the Northwest was linked to the company’s food.
Chipotle said the restaurants opened with a fresh supply of all new ingredients. Health officials concluded there is no ongoing risk from this incident and Chipotle has taken steps to ensure its food is as safe as possible.
These steps include:
-Conducting additional deep cleaning and sanitization in all its restaurants nationwide
-Replacing all ingredients in the closed restaurants
-Confirming that none of its employees in these restaurants had E. coli
-Working with health officials to improve food handling procedures
-Testing fresh produce, raw meat and dairy items (cheese and sour cream) prior to restocking restaurants
-Going above and beyond required testing and enhancing nationwide testing of produce and fresh meat
-Testing food, restaurant surfaces and equipment in its restaurants
-Implementing additional safety procedures and audits, in all of its 2,000 restaurants to ensure that robust food safety standards are in place.
Despite business returning to normal for Chipotle, health officials and investigators continue to work on identifying a source of the outbreak.
According to Washington and Oregon officials, a total of 42 ill people have been reported. There have been 14 reported hospitalizations.
CDC identified one DNA fingerprint (outbreak strain) of E. coli O26 as part of the outbreak. As a result, 16 people in Washington and seven in Oregon were uploaded to the CDC PulseNet database. All 23 people were infected with E. coli O26 that has the same DNA fingerprint.
Health officials are currently conducting laboratory analysis of foods sampled from the restaurants and gathering information about the supply chain(s).