Over 40 people have been reported to have been stricken with E. coli after eating at Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants, as the food poisoning outbreak has now reached six states.
According to the latest report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, E. coli cases have been reported in California, Ohio, New York, and Minnesota. This comes mere weeks after the popular restaurant chain was linked to E. coli outbreaks in Oregon and Washington state.
In the new report, the CDC said that 45 people fell ill from the E. coli O26 outbreak strain, with almost all (43) of them getting sick shortly after eating at Chipotle restaurants. A total of 16 people have been hospitalized, and no deaths have been reported so far. The latest reports of illness came from Turlock, California, Akron, Ohio, Amherst, New York, and Burnsville, Minnesota
E. coli was first associated with Chipotle in late October, with the outbreak initially reported in Seattle and Portland. The company closed all of its 43 restaurants in those two cities on Halloween, and after cooperating with authorities, deep-cleaning the restaurants, and ramping up safety measures, the units were eventually reopened last week. And in addition to the above measures, Chipotle has hired food safety consultants, and began testing food products and changing preparation procedures in the affected restaurants.
The ongoing E. coli outbreak has been damaging to Chipotle’s press relations. Considering its long-standing reputation for serving fresh and healthy food and its slogan “Food with Integrity,” Chipotle has suffered quite a lot after this new report, which marks the third time the restaurant has run afoul of the CDC. Chipotle shares have also suffered, slipping 12.3 percent to $536.19 at the close of Friday’s trading.