Chipotle Mexican Grill Involved In E. Coli Outbreak, Closes 43 Stores In Washington, Oregon

Chipotle Mexican Grill, a U.S. based international restaurant chain, has announced that it has voluntarily closed 43 of its stores in Washington and Oregon.

This comes after health authorities informed the restaurant about possible E. coli contamination in the food served at the Chipotle’s Pacific Northwest eateries.

In the report, 19 cases of E. coli were linked to Washington restaurants while three more were recorded in Oregon, as mentioned in a statement by the Washington State Department of Health on Saturday.

While there have been no deaths resulting from the E. coli outbreak, Chipotle Mexican Grill still “immediately” closed all of its stores in Washington and Portland, Oregon.

The restaurant made the move “even though the vast majority of these restaurants have no reported problems.”

The chain will cooperate with the state health department in the investigation of the source of the contamination.

In the E. coli cases, seven patients in Washington have been hospitalized, while one in Oregon has been confined.

As a result of the health issue surrounding Chipotle Mexican Grill, stocks have dipped $12.78 or 2 percent, resulting in $627.44 midday trading.

It was also advised that people who ate in the said restaurant chains of Chipotle from October 14 through 23 and have experienced vomiting, bloody diarrhea, or have fallen ill should seek medical help right away.

According to the report, because many people are not likely to seek medical help, the actual number of affected customers may increase in the future.

This would be the third time that Chipotle Mexican Grill has been involved in a food contamination outbreak since August this year.

Just a few months ago, the restaurant was involved in salmonella cases, as well as the norovirus, which is considered highly infectious.

In spite of the recent health-related woes the restaurant chain is facing, a U.S. restaurant consulting firm executive thinks that Chipotle will still pull through.

“They have a lot of customer goodwill,” said Bob Goldin, executive vice president at Technomic.

The investigation of the E. coli outbreak is reportedly in its early stages. It will include questioning patients about which dishes or meals they ate prior to experiencing symptoms.

Test samples from the human patients will be compared to the test samples from Chipotle Mexican Grill. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration will then identify if the samples match.

The Mexican restaurant has definitely seen better days in the industry.

Chipotle has been considered a darling in the market in recent years, boasting a constant growth in a rather competitive restaurant chain industry.

However, it managed to separate itself from the pack, offering “healthy and high-quality fresh ingredients in its menu.” In a time and age where health is becoming a priority to people, the restaurant’s healthy but tasty options give it an edge over other chains.

The main dishes and meals of Chipotle include burritos, tacos and salads. Another advantage the restaurant enjoys is its choice to serve naturally-raised meat, as well as organic ingredients and products.

Beginning in 1993 in Denver, Colorado, Chipotle Mexican Grill now has 1,700 outlets spanning various countries including the U.S, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Canada.

World-renowned food chain McDonald’s was initially a major investor from 1998 and helped Chipotle gain steam. When it divested itself from Chipotle, the chain already had 500 stores.

As a result, its stocks have currently been on the rise, although the equity is priced aggressively.

In the forecast for investors interested in Chipotle, it mentioned that they might get a better chance of buying stocks in 2016.

[Images via Wikipedia and Chipotle UK]

Comments