As of this weekend, the Chipotle E. coli outbreak has reached six states. Three weeks after the contamination was first identified in Washington and Oregon, more than 40 have become ill in New York, Ohio, California and Minnesota. Out of 45 people sick from E. coli, 43 reported eating at Chipotle just before, the Centers for Disease Control says. No deaths have been reported, but 16 people have been hospitalized.
While Chipotle closed 43 of its restaurants in Washington and Oregon and subjected all to deep cleanings, the chain will not be closing the affected restaurants in these newly reported states because the visits leading to illness occurred in late October and early November. However, the chain has hired food safety experts and is making changes in its food prep process in the hopes of preventing future outbreaks.
It's a bit terrifying that the outbreak traveled all the way across the country. Just when you thought it was safe to order that burrito bowl, right? Supposedly, even if you live in New York, California, Ohio or Minnesota, you're still safe eating at Chipotle. But we wouldn't blame you for hesitating.
That said, if you've heard rumors that Chipotle is more vulnerable to food contamination because it uses meat from animals not treated with antibiotics, you should know that's simply not true. What's more, experts believe the contamination most likely stems from raw produce. Regardless, hopefully Chipotle's new processes will make it safer to eat there.
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