An E.coli outbreak linked to Chipotle Mexican Grill has spread to six states, OregonLive.com reported Friday. Forty-five people so far have been infected with the strain of E.coli associated with the Chipotle outbreak that made headlines earlier this month.
The first reported illness came Oct. 19, and shortly after, 26 people in Washington and 13 in Oregon were sickened. Since then, the disease has spread to affect people outside the Pacific Northwest. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has tracked two cases in California, two in Minnesota, one in New York and one in Ohio, with the latest case dating to Nov. 8. The CDC said this evidence points to food from Chipotle as, “likely the source of the outbreak.”
Chipotle closed 43 restaurants in Washington state and the Portland, Oregon, area earlier this month, but reopened them last week after health officials could not find the source of the outbreak although is lettuce, tomatoes, cilantro or salsa were suspected. This is not the first time the restaurant chain has been affected by food-borne illness: During the summer, Chipotle also was linked to both a salmonella outbreak in Minnesota caused by contaminated tomatoes and a norovirus illness that sickened roughly 100 customers and employees at a Chipotle in Simi Valley, California.
“In Chipotle’s case, there are a lot of answers that need to be found,” Daren Detwiler, who works at Stop Foodborne Illness and is also an adjunct professor at Northeastern University in Boston, previously told the International Business Times. “When you have three outbreaks in the same restaurant, you can’t be reactive, you have to be proactive. I work with many companies that are proactive, but employee training at restaurants is paramount.”
Amid concerns from investors about the company’s food-health issues, Chipotle’s shares have plummeted, down 17 percent this year and 25 percent from the high over the past 52 weeks, USA Today reported