Chipotle’s E. coli Outbreak

Brandon Guerreo, Staff Writer

News that an outbreak of E. coli has infected dozens of people came to Chipotle on Oct. 14. Health officials have tracked the origin of the outbreak to Chipotle restaurants in Washington state and Oregon. All 43 of Chipotle’s restaurants in the Seattle and Portland areas have been temporarily closed for deep cleaning.


“Even after the company sounds the ‘all clear’, I believe that it will take some time for traffic to return,” Stephen Anderson, restaurant analyst for Maxim group, said.


So far nobody has died from the E. coli O26 strain, but over three-dozen infected people have been linked to the Chipotle incident. Health officials in both states, Oregon and Washington, have encouraged people who have eaten at Chipotle chains, and have experienced any symptoms, to go to the hospital.


“The safety of our customers and integrity of our food supply has always been our highest priority,” Steve Ells, chairman and co-CEO of Chipotle said. “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.”

Now Chipotle faces lawsuits from people who have been infected by the outbreak. However, not everyone with E. coli can sue Chipotle, they must link the cause directly to the restaurant. Jessica Ellis and Chris Collins are two people who have filed federal lawsuits.


“I’ve never gotten sick like this,” Collins told KATU. “The excruciating pain in my abdomen was something I’ve never experienced. It feels like your guts are being ripped out.”


The origin of the outbreak is still unknown. If the E. coli infected products came from a meat packaging plant, then it is quite possible that other places besides Chipotle have disease-ridden products.