Officials Investigating Outbreak At LA Chipotle

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By Cooking Panda

A Los Angeles Chipotle restaurant is under scrutiny from health officials after the fast-casual establishment reported some of its workers became ill with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health is currently investigating the company’s employees with reported illnesses at the L.A. Chipotle located at 4550 West Pico Boulevard. The restaurant remains open; however, a spokesman for Chipotle stated sick employees had been out of work due to company policy, according to Bloomberg.

The county health department did not report any other illnesses from other Chipotle locations and is currently working to determine the cause of illness. As of yet, there was no immediate indication that the employees fell ill due to Chipotle food. Local health officials inspected the restaurant on Dec. 19, as a matter of company policy in cases of reported illnesses. A Chipotle spokesperson said the health officials were “pleased” with the restaurant’s operations.

CEO Steve Ellis described this year as “challenging.” The Mexican chain has struggled to win back customers after an E. coli outbreak in 2015 that affected customers across the U.S. Last summer, the chain saw sales plunge when a Chipotle in Virginia closed temporarily after dozens of diners fell ill with what health officials believed was norovirus, a leading cause of illnesses from contaminated food. Then again, the company briefly closed its doors at a Dallas location after several mice were caught on film falling from the ceiling during a lunch rush.

The latest reports of illness sent shares down nearly 5 percent on Dec. 20, less than half at their 2015 peak, prior to the E. coli outbreak. Bloomberg reports Chipotle’s worst stock decline in two months. Chipotle had to deal with other issues aside from health scares, including a massive data breach that gave hackers authorized access to credit card information at nearly all of Chipotle’s restaurants this year.

Chipotle recently tweaked its once-popular queso in an effort to use only real ingredients and no artificial additives, but poor customer feedback calling it “gritty” caused the company’s efforts to flop, despite a December promotional giveaway that threw in free queso to customers wearing a “cheesy” holiday sweater.

CNN Money reports the company is seeking new leadership to quickly turn things around.

Sources: Foodbeast, CNN Money, Bloomberg, CBS News / Featured Image: Mike Mozart/Flickr

Tags: Chipotle outbreak
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Chipotle Is Making Its Diners Sick … Again

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By Cooking Panda

Well, a bunch more people have gotten sick after eating Chipotle.

A Chipotle restaurant in Sterling, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C., closed down on July 17 after a number of customers reported norovirus-like symptoms, including vomiting and diarrhea, reports The New York Times.

As an added precaution, the fast-casual Mexican-inspired store remained closed until the following day to allow for cleaning and employee monitoring, David Goodfriend, director of the Loudoun County Health Department in Virginia, told The Times. In the meantime, a stool sample was sent to a lab to test for norovirus.

“We are working with health authorities to understand what the cause may be and to resolve the situation as quickly as possible,” Jim Marsden, Chipotle’s executive director of food safety, told Business Insider. “The reported symptoms are consistent with norovirus. Norovirus does not come from our food supply, and it is safe to eat at Chipotle.”

Norovirus typically pops up from personal hygiene issues, such as an employee who didn’t wash their hands after using the restroom. It is the most common type of foodborne illness in the U.S. and causes more than 21 million cases per year.

A number of complaints on iwaspoisoned.com state that sick customers had symptoms like stomach pain, vomiting and fevers.

“Wife and I ate chicken bowls Friday night,” one such report says, according to Business Insider. “Puking brains out Saturday night and Sunday.”

Another said that at least one person was hospitalized for dehydration, pain, vomiting and diarrhea.

“This is the worst that I have ever seen,” the report says. “Severe food borne illnesses can cause long-term damage to the gastro-intestinal track. This was BAD!”

Chipotle was in the midst of a sales comeback after several foodborne illness outbreaks including e. coli, salmonella and norovirus wreaked havoc on the chain within a six-month time span in 2015, notes The Washington Post.

After closing more than 2,000 locations in February 2016 for food-safety training and subsequently putting out free offers and other marketing attempts to present the chain as clean and safe, Chipotle’s plummeting sales had finally began to creep back up.

We’ll see where it goes from here — all I know is that if they offer me free guac, I wouldn’t dream of turning it down.

Sources: Business Insider, New York Times, Washington Post / Photo Credit: Mr.TinDC/Flickr

Tags: Chipotle, Chipotle food poisoning, Chipotle outbreak, foodborne illness outbreak, norovirus
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