Chipotle is Reopening its Restaurants Linked to E. Coli Outbreak

November 10, 2015, 4:46 PM UTC
Chipotle E coli
A pedestrian walks past a closed Chipotle restaurant Monday, Nov. 2, 2015, in Seattle. An E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants in Washington state and Oregon has sickened nearly two dozen people in the third outbreak of foodborne illness at the popular chain this year. Cases of the bacterial illness were traced to six of the fast-casual Mexican food restaurants, but the company voluntarily closed down 43 of its locations in the two states as a precaution. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
Photograph by Elaine Thompson — AP

Chipotle Mexican Grill said on Tuesday it is re-opening its 43 restaurants in the Seattle and Portland, Ore. areas it had voluntarily closed last week because of an E. coli outbreak.

The burrito chain said in a statement that health officials had conducted tests that came back negative and concluded “there is no ongoing risk” from the incident. The Chipotle (CMG) restaurants in question will reopen in the coming days with an entirely fresh supply of ingredients.

Last week, Chipotle conducted a “deep cleaning and full sanitization” of the restaurants, noting that only 11 had actually been linked to the bacteria. The company conducted 900 tests on its food, restaurants surfaces, and equipment in the restaurants. It also noted that none of its employees had E. coli or contracted it during this outbreak.

The reopenings mark the end of an episode that could have dented the fast-growing chain’s sales, given the slew of national headlines. Last Tuesday, Chipotle shares dipped on fears of lasting effects.

“The safety of our customers and integrity of our food supply has always been our highest priority,” said Steve Ells, chairman and co-CEO of Chipotle in a statement.

E. coli bacteria lives in the intestines of healthy people, but some strains can cause cramps, diarrhea, and vomiting. Humans can become exposed to E. coli from contaminated water or food.


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