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Chipotle Says More E. Coli Cases Could Still Be Reported

December 4, 2015, 4:39 PM UTC

More than a month after an E. Coli outbreak in Chipotle locations began to sicken dozens in the Pacific Northwest, the Mexican food chain says the number of reported illnesses can still rise.

While no additional people have been sickened since early November, states are still in the process of finding and reporting the cases to the federal government. At least 45 people fell ill due the outbreak, and 16 were hospitalized, according to a Centers for Disease Control report released on Nov. 20.

Chipotle (CMG) said in a press release Friday that, since the outbreak, it has hired IEH Laboratories and Consulting Group to help it create new food safety practices. The chain is rolling out enhanced training for employees as well as DNA-based testing of all produce, among other changes, in order to safeguard customers’ health.

“While it is never possible to completely eliminate all risk, this program eliminates or mitigates risk to a level near zero, and will establish Chipotle as the industry leader in this area,” IEH Laboratories CEO Mansour Samadpour said in the release.

In response to the E. Coli outbreak, Chipotle temporarily closed more than 40 locations across Oregon and Washington. The company said earlier this week it would tighten its guidelines for produce suppliers.