Despite the massive press relations debacle Chipotle is facing following a series of E. coli outbreaks, the fast food chain has remained steadfast behind its so-called “diarrhea burrito.”
For the past few months, Chipotle has been under the radar, with federal authorities investigating a pathogenic E. coli strain, which has now affected 52 people across nine states, with 47 of these individuals saying they ate at Chipotle right before they fell sick. Affected states include California, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington, and as of this writing, the source of the E. coli outbreak has not yet been spotted.
Meanwhile, Chipotle shares have taken a huge hit in the stock market, losing almost 8 percent to $518 in extended Friday trading, after the company said that sales at established outlets may drop 8 to 11 percent year-over-year in the fourth quarter, thus marking its first such decline. Investigators have also cautioned that the outbreak may cover even more states, as local agencies continue working closely with the U.S. government. Chipotle has pledged to tighten safety protocols, though the company, according to several reports, is still selling the “diarrhea burrito” despite its unpopularity among consumers.
Symptoms of E. coli infections include abdominal cramps, fever, diarrhea, and vomiting, and in few cases, even death.