A Seattle man has filed a lawsuit against Chipotle restaurants alleging he was sickened with E. coli and hospitalized in July during an undisclosed outbreak linked to the Mexican food chain, months before dozens of Northwestern Chipotle locations suspended operations as more customers fell ill.
According to the Seattle Times, 27-year-old Timothy Kniffin filed a complaint against Chipotle in a federal court in Washington last month.
Mr. Kniffin claims he started feeling ill on July 25 after eating a meal of pork carnitas, white rice, salsa, peppers, guacamole, and chips at a Seattle Chipotle restaurant. He was admitted to the hospital on Aug. 2 and treated for an E. coli 0157 : H7 infection, caused by a strain of the bacteria that federal health authorities later linked to the Chipotle chain. Mr. Kniffin remained in the hospital through Aug. 2, the Seattle Times reported.
The July E. coli outbreak sickened at least four people and led to the hospitalization of two, including Mr. Kniffin. A Washington public health department spokesman told the Seattle Times that the outbreak was over by the time the agency connected it to Chipotle, and therefore they didn’t publicize it.
Mr. Kniffin, a local café and bakery worker, seeks compensation for medical expenses, travel expenses, general pain and suffering damages, and damages resulting from loss of enjoyment of life.
In October, a different E. coli strain sickened at least 46 people who had eaten at Chipotle restaurants in Washington and Oregon. That outbreak prompted the closure of 43 Chipotles in the Northwest.
Yet another E. Coli outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants occurred in November, sickening at least five people in North Dakota, Kansas, and Oklahoma.
Other outbreaks of foodborne illness stemmed from the Chipotle chain last year, including a Salmonella outbreak in Minnesota that sickened at least 64 customers in September, and Norovirus outbreaks in California and Massachusetts that sickened more than 200 and triggered a federal criminal investigation of the chain restaurant.
The outbreaks have led Chipotle to completely overhaul its food safety practices, including testing its ingredients for bacteria and other germs and modifying its food preparation and employee training measures.
Source: The Seattle Times