All test results negative for E. Coli; no ongoing threat
Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG) will reopen all 43 restaurants in the Seattle and Portland, Ore. markets that the company voluntarily closed. The restaurants are opening in the coming days with a fresh supply of all new ingredients.
Health officials have concluded that there is no ongoing risk from this incident. Chipotle has taken important steps to make certain that their food is as safe as it can be, including:
- Conducting additional deep cleaning and sanitization in all its restaurants nationwide.
- Replacing all ingredients in the closed restaurants.
- Confirming that none of its employees in these restaurants had E. coli. Note: No Chipotle employees have had E. coli stemming from this incident.
- Working with health officials to improve food handling procedures.
- Testing fresh produce, raw meat, and dairy items (cheese and sour cream) prior to restocking restaurants.
- Going above and beyond required testing, and enhancing nationwide testing of produce and fresh meat.
- Testing food, restaurant surfaces, and equipment in its restaurants (to date, Chipotle has received nearly 900 test results, all of which showed no E. coli).
- Implementing additional safety procedures, and audits, in all of its 2,000 restaurants to ensure that robust food safety standards are in place.
Since this issue began, Chipotle has taken a number of additional steps to help health officials investigate this incident. Those measures included:
- Immediately closing 43 restaurants in Oregon and Washington out of an abundance of caution, although the incident was limited to 11 restaurants.
- Conducting independent testing in its restaurants and distribution center in addition to testing conducted by health department and Food and Drug Administration officials, all of which showed no E. coli.
- Actively assisting health authorities during all phases of the investigation.
- Retaining two preeminent food safety scientists to help the company assess and improve upon its already high standards for food safety.
Details surrounding the investigation include:
- The most recent reported date that a meal was served that may be linked with this incident is October 24. Incubation period for E. coli is typically three to four days after exposure, but may be as short as one day or as long as 10 days, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
- Eleven Chipotle restaurants, including six restaurants in Oregon and five in Washington have been linked to this incident by the health departments. Out of an abundance of caution, Chipotle voluntarily closed 43 restaurants in Oregon and Washington.
- No Chipotle locations outside of Oregon and Washington have been connected to this issue in any way.
- No cause has been established between this issue and any ingredient. Both Chipotle and health officials have been conducting food and environmental testing in Chipotle restaurants and distribution centers, but tests have not confirmed a link to any ingredient.
- No Chipotle employees are among the confirmed cases.
“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. “If there are any opportunities for us to do better in any facet of our sourcing or food handling – from the farms to our restaurants – we will find them. We are sorry to those affected by this situation, and it is our greatest priority to ensure that we go above and beyond to make certain that we find any opportunity to do better in any area of food safety.”
Additional information about this incident is available online at Chipotle.com/update.