Chipotle Mexican Grill just can’t get a break. The popular burrito chain is now the subject of yet another food poisoning incident, this time affecting 30 Boston College students.
The news comes just weeks after the chain closed 43 restaurants in Seattle and Portland after at least 47 people fell ill from E. coli over a two-week period, and mere months after the restaurant was linked to dozens of salmonella infections in Minnesota, and another 100 norovirus infections in California.
Chipotle temporarily closed its Cleveland Circle restaurant in Boston, the location where the sickened Boston College students had reportedly eaten, until the restaurant personnel and health officials investigate the source of the illnesses. Those sickened include members of the Boston College men’s basketball team.
Health officials say there is no evidence that the Boston College illnesses are linked to the previous E. coli outbreak, and no E. coli cases have been linked to Chipotle restaurants in Massachusetts.
E. coli is a bacteria that can cause abdominal cramping and severe and occasionally bloody diarrhea. Those infected generally begin feeling sick within three to four days, though some can begin experiencing symptoms as early as one day or as many as 10 days after infection. Symptoms generally begin slowly with mild belly pain and diarrhea and worsen over several days.
Before the Boston College outbreak, Chipotle had warned shareholders to brace for falling sales this quarter – a first in the company’s rather successful history. The company said that future sales could also be surprisingly weak due to the wave of foodborne illnesses linked to the restaurants.