There is more bad news for Chipotle Mexican Grill. The burrito restaurant chain has been linked to a second outbreak of E. coli – the latest in a string of foodborne illnesses traced back to Chipotle restaurants across the United States.
Five people in North Dakota, Kansas and Oklahoma have fallen ill with the bacteria between Nov. 18 and Nov. 26. All those sickened claimed to have eaten at a Chipotle restaurant during the week before they became sick.
Weeks earlier, a different strain of E. coli sickened 46 people who claimed to have eaten at Chipotle in the days before they became ill. The company closed 43 restaurants in Seattle and Portland following that outbreak in an effort to identify the source of the illnesses.
In September, tomatoes at Chipotle restaurants in Minnesota were linked to dozens of cases of salmonella infections. And, earlier this year, a single Chipotle restaurant in California was blamed for infecting about 100 people with norovirus.
The latest outbreak comes just two weeks after a norovirus outbreak at a Chipotle near Boston College sickened at least 120 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold said the company is conducting a complete comprehensive reassessment of its food safety programs “with an eye to finding best practices for each of the ingredients we use. We are now in the process of implementing those programs, including high resolution testing of ingredients, end of shelf-life testing of ingredients, continuous improvement in the supply system based on testing data, and enhanced food safety training for all of our restaurant teams.”