Chipotle’s signature Halloween “Boorito” came with an extra-scary addition this holiday season: pathogenic strains of E. coli, a bacterium that can be fatal in some cases.
The restaurant chain closed more than 40 stores after an outbreak of E. coli in two states — nineteen cases in Washington and three in Oregon, according to a statement from the Washington State Department of Health. A third of the cases have been hospitalized.
“After being notified by health department officials in the Seattle and Portland, Ore. 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.”
It’s been a pretty bad year for Chipotle and food safety. In September, two lawsuits were filed in Minnesota and California alleging that the company’s food caused salmonella and norovirus outbreaks, respectively. According to Food Poison Journal, there have been at least six serious outbreaks linked to Chipotle’s food since 2008 — the latest outbreak is the seventh.