Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE:CMG) hired two food safety consulting firms amid the E.coli outbreak, which was linked to its eight restaurants in Oregon and Washington.
Katrina Hedberg, an epidemiologist at the Oregon Health Authority said there are twelve confirmed E.coli cases in the state. According to her at least eight people became sick after eating at a Chipotle restaurant.
Hedberg said, “We are encouraging anyone who has eaten at a Chipotle restaurant and has developed severe diarrhea or bloody diarrhea (to) seek health care. At this point, we still think our case count may increase.”
On the other hand, Kathy Lofy, a health officer in Washington said there are already 25 confirmed E.coli cases in the state. Twenty-three of them ate at a Chipotle restaurant.
Actions taken by Chipotle Mexican Grill
The company immediately closed 43 restaurants in both states even if eight restaurants were tied to the E.coli cases. The decision was made “out of abundance of caution” while investigators are looking for the cause of the outbreak.
Chipotle Mexican Grill said it is conducting deep cleaning and full sanitation of its restaurants in the area. The company is replacing food items in the closed restaurants.
Health Department officials are also conducting environmental testing and food testing at its restaurants and distribution centers.
According to the company, the food safety consulting firms are helping the company assess and improve its already high standards for food safety.
Steve Ells, Chairman and Chairman of Chipotle Mexican Grill said, “The safety of our customers and integrity of our food supply has always been our highest priority. We work with a number of very fresh ingredients in order to serve our customers the highest-quality, best-tasting food we can. If there are opportunities to do better, we will push ourselves to find them and enhance our already high standards for food safety.”
Lawsuit filed against Chipotle Mexican Grill
Charmaine Denise Mode, a registered nurse, who ate at a burrito bowl at a Chipotle restaurant and became sick with severe diarrhea, filed a lawsuit against the restaurant operator.
In her complaint, Mode said, she ate at a Chipotle restaurant on October 21 and became sick after four days. According to her, she suffered a bloody diarrhea, a symptom of an E.coli infection. She went to hospital for treatment and her stool sample was tested positive for shiga toxin-producing E.coli (STEC). Ms. Mode is seeking more than $75,000 in damages.