Chipotle Closes 43 Restaurants Due to E. Coli Outbreak

Article by Katy Zielinski | esPResso Staff Writer

Chipotle Mexican Grill, a popular chain restaurant with 1,931 locations, closed 43 locations in Washington and Oregon due to an E. coli outbreak. According to CNN, eight people have been hospitalized and a Washington woman sued Chipotle after contracting the bacteria in her meal. The Oregon Public Health Division received 100 calls reporting sickness, according to CNBC.

“Right now, it is our priority to work through that process with health department officials,” said Chris Arnold, Chipotle’s Communications Director. Other than this statement, Chipotle’s social media accounts and website have made no mention of the E. coli outbreaks.

“Keeping so quiet could harm Chipotle,” said Nick Kalm, founder and President of Reputation Partners, said in a PRWeek article. CNBC reported that stock has fallen 6.5% since the outbreak.

Chipotle’s website states they are “changing the face of fast food, starting conversations, and directly supporting efforts to shift the future of farming and food.” They brag about preparing fresh food by hand and Chipotle marketing focuses on their unprocessed foods prepared by hand. This outbreak has harmed this reputation.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Escherichia coli bacteria are usually harmless and are found inside human intestines. Most strands are harmless. However, pathogenic strands can cause diarrhea and stomach pain.

This has not been the first incident in Chipotle’s history. In August, a branch in California closed due to reports by customers and employees of Norovirus symptoms. This incident was contained and the restaurant was reopened after a deep cleaning of the premises, reported USA Today.

Photo credited by Wikimedia.

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