On Friday, the Centers for Disease Control issued a statement of a multistate breakout of E. coli linked to Chipotle locations. This news comes on the heels of several Chipotle closures due to a possible E. coli link over Halloween weekend, which has now reportedly spread beyond Washington state and Oregon. The original reported outbreak linked 35 cases of E. coli to the popular chain restaurant; the CDC's report today indicates that there are now 45 patients from six states with the specific E. coli strain (Escherichia coli O26), and "suggests that a common meal item or ingredient served at Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants in several states is a likely source of this outbreak."
"The safety of our customers and integrity of our food supply has always been our highest priority," Chairman and co-CEO of Chipotle Steve Ells said in a statement earlier this month. "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. Our deepest sympathies go out to those who have been affected by this situation and it is our greatest priority to ensure the safety of all of the food we serve and maintain our customers' confidence in eating at Chipotle."
Here are the states that have reportedly been affected by the strain, along with the number of people who have been infected:
- Washington (26)
- Oregon (13)
- California (2)
- Minnesota (2)
- New York (2)
- Ohio (1)
Symptoms of E. Coli typically appear within three to four days of ingestion of the strain, and include diarrhea, abdominal pain, and fever. The CDC has indicated that it is not yet clear which menu item carries the particular strain, but that the investigation is ongoing. As of right now, the outbreak has led to 16 hospitalizations and no deaths.