It's Not Worth Freaking Out Over Chipotle's Food Poisoning Reports
There have been a number of foodborne illness outbreaks this summer, but Chipotle's case is a little different.
Fresh off the heels of one of the worst E. coli outbreaks in 10 years and as many as five major food recalls occurring in the span of one week due to salmonella this summer, concerns over food safety in the United States have made consumers extra nervous.
So it's natural for some Chipotle fans to wonder if they should stop visiting their local store following reports that more than 600 diners have come forward reporting gastrointestinal symptoms, especially after an outbreak of norovirus at one Chipotle in Boston made national news in 2015.
But there are a few differences between these initial reports and other news of widespread foodborne illnesses.
While upwards of 630 reported cases of illness is nothing to scoff at, all of these reports are based on one Chipotle location just outside of Columbus, Ohio—and since the Delaware General Health District began their investigation into why so many people were feeling ill, that location has since closed down for a complete scrub down, per Chipotle's updated safety measures.
Unlike the recent outbreak of cyclosporiasis affecting multiple McDonald's locations in 14 different states, no other Chipotle outpost across the nation has been linked to these illnesses so far.
Furthermore, officials working on behalf of the Delaware General Health District in Powell, Ohio, haven't yet identified the cause. Tests for foodborne illnesses such as salmonella, shigella, E. coli, and norovirus have all come back negative, pushing officials to look for other possible leads, according to TIME.
More on foodborne illnesses currently making headlines:
- What Is Cyclospora, the Bacteria That Has Sickened Hundreds at McDonald's?
- Massive Salmonella Outbreak Since November 2017 Linked to Turkey
Two of those who have reported sickness are now suing the chain. In late July, locals Filip Syzller and Clayton Jones ate tacos and a burrito bowl, respectively, before falling violently ill and seeking medical treatment, the Washington Post reports. Ron Simon, legal counsel representing Szyller and Jones, says more than 100 people have contacted him to file additional lawsuits.
While these lawsuits are alleging that Chipotle hasn't done enough to ensure food safety, a previous federal inquiry into the chain's practices in 2015 prompted more than 2,000 Chipotle locations to close for food safety training back in February 2016.
The bottom line: Staying up to date on foodborne illness reports from federal agencies is important, as new, vital information is often released as updates after initial announcements. But the current information on these cases suggest that, unless you're heading to the one location in Ohio, you shouldn't swear off Chipotle just yet.