A single Chipotle Mexican Grill location in Massachusetts closed its doors recently when one employee was diagnosed with the gastrointestinal ailment norovirus, and two others were suspected of having the illness, adding yet another chapter to the Chipotle foodborne illness saga.
Chipotle management temporarily closed the store, and no customers reported becoming sick after eating at the restaurant. But the situation brought back painful memories that both the restaurant chain and its customers had hoped were in the past.
Chipotle restaurants have been linked to outbreaks of salmonella, E.coli, and norovirus, which have sickened about 500 customers across the country. The company currently faces at least two personal injury lawsuits and is under investigation by the California Attorney’s Office and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Last month, the restaurant said that two of the norovirus outbreaks had been caused by sick employees. Previous salmonella outbreaks were tentatively linked to tomatoes. CDC officials announced earlier this year that the E.coli outbreak had ended, but said they are still unsure what caused it.
Last month, Chipotle closed more than 2,000 of its restaurants across the country for four hours to literally clean up its act, holding virtual town hall meetings with its employees after a wave of foodborne illness outbreaks linked to Chipotle restaurants. The company also launched a $10 million program to help small farmers who supply to the restaurant chain to help cover the cost of implementing the company’s new food safety system.