Oklahoma E. coli victims ate at Chipotle

Mother sues Chipotle on behalf of sick 16-year-old son

Three of the new cases are in Oklahoma, one in Kansas and one in North Dakota and sequencing of the E. coli strain identified it as a rare variant of O26. All five said they ate at a Chipotle the week before they got sick. They all ate at Chipotle in the week prior to their sickness. He added, "These recent cases occurred several weeks after the last cases in the larger outbreak and in a different geographic location". Since the time issue has started, Chipotle has carried out a comprehensive reassessment of its food safety programs in order to have best practices for each of the ingredients the company uses.

In a statement, Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold said "We have indicated before that we expected that we may see additional cases stemming from this, and CDC is now reporting some additional cases". The company unveiled a new food safety plan in December in partnership with IEH Laboratories and Consulting Group in Seattle that includes repeated testing of freshly prepared ingredients, improved employee training and extra precautions during preparation such as blanching fresh greens in boiling water for a few seconds to kill bacteria.

A total of 53 cases have now been reported, the majority of them related to the October 2015 outbreak in the Pacific Northwest that resulted in dozens of locations being temporarily closed. Those points of differentiation have always been marketing strengths for Chipotle, which has sought to distinguish itself as being of higher quality than traditional fast-food chains. It is imperative to state that post the outbreak the company had assured customers that it would tighten its food safety standards.

"The Chipotle foodborne illness case will now be studied by restaurant operators, financial professionals, and PR officials for years if not decades to come", he said.

According to the CDC: "46 (88%) of 52 people interviewed reported eating at a Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant".

STILL LESS CONCERNED: William Blair analyst Sharon Zackfia, conversely, says she still expects Chipotle to emerge "largely unscathed" over the longer term from the E. coli incidents that have plagued it recently.

 

It is noted that Chipotle's stock suffered a 20 percent decline in stocks after the outbreak; however, shares went up by 3.6 percent at $567.71 in premarket trading following Ells' appearance in Today.

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