Chipotle closes restuarants after E.Coli discoveries



Map of counties with reported E. coli cases in Oregon and Washington. Tribune News Service

Eshika Kohli, Staff Writer

On Fri. Oct. 30, the famous Mexican grill has temporarily closed more than forty restaurants in the Washington State and Oregon areas due to an Escherichia Coli (E. Coli) outbreak.

An attorney representing the people who have been affected by this, Bill Marley said, “It helps investigators link up to a perishable item. What they’re really focusing on right now is the supply chain. What’s the common denominator? Who supplied what product to these stores?”

Health authorities have investigated 19 cases in Washington and three cases in Oregon relating to the bacteria which involved an unknown type of food. Eight people have been admitted to the hospital. 17 out of the 22 ate at the restaurant in the last few weeks.

Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold said, “The safety and well-being of our customers is always our highest priority… After being notified by health department officials in the Seattle and Portland, Oregon areas that they were investigating approximately 20 cases of E. Coli, including people who ate at six of our restaurants in those areas, we immediately closed all of our restaurants in the area out of an abundance of caution, even though the vast majority of these restaurants have no reported problems.”

Most types of the E. Coli virus are harmless, though some forms can be transmitted through contaminated water or food, resulting in symptoms like vomiting or diarrhea.

Medical epidemiologist with the Washington State Department of Health Marisa D’Angeli said, “After people started hearing about the outbreak, more people will probably go to the doctor and join the list of potential cases… We actually expect there might be a jump in cases on Monday.”

D’Angeli mentioned that Chipotle has been cooperative and shut down the restaurants in the two states. In the meantime, samples of the food from the restaurants will be tested at a U.S. Food and Drug Administration Laboratory.