Updated 06:42 AM EDT, Fri, Oct 23, 2020

Chipotle Mexican Grill Shuts Down Seattle & Portland Sites Due to Rising E.Coli Cases

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Chipotle Mexican Grill had to shut down their Seattle and Portland sites due to cases of E. coli being reported in the areas. In a report by Reuters, the franchise has shut down all of its restaurants in the two West Coast markets after a reported outbreak of E. coli bacteria came to the attention of the company as well as health authorities.

In a statement made via email, Chipotle management said, "After being notified by health department officials in the Seattle (Wash.) and Portland, Ore. areas that they were investigating approximately 20 cases of E. coli, including people who ate at six of our restaurants in those areas, we immediately closed all of our restaurants in the area out of an abundance of caution."

The company also said that the vast majority of the stores in the area had no reports about the said problems but went on to say that "We offer our deepest sympathies to those that have been affected by this situation."

however, this is not the first time that food the company came into some sort of food contamination outbreak. Reuters said that in August, cases involving salmonella and norovirus also grabbed attention.

However, for the E. Coli outbreak CBS Denver said that as many as three people in Portland and 19 in western Washington have already been sick from E. coli. Seventeen were said to have eaten at a Chipotle restaurant during the past few weeks, affecting people ranging from ages 11 to 64.

E. coli is a type of bacteria that live in the human gut, and while it usually causes no problems, some strains cause serious symptoms and can be life-threatening, although it is spread only by contact with fecal matter. Symptoms of E. coli include diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea and vomiting.

This disease may be related to Chipotle as the fast food franchise boast of using fresh, unprocessed food in their restaurants. While this may be more nutritious, Reuters noted that there are experts who said that it does raise the risk of food-borne illness.

Despite the setback that this may cause the company, food poisoning outbreaks can usually tide over and recover quickly, as demonstrated in cases involving Taco Bell and Subway. However, if the contaminations are deemed lethal, it can hurt the company. For instance, Jack in the Box almost lost the company when four children died from eating contaminated and undercooked meat at their chain in 1993.

However, an investigation is still ongoing regarding the Chipotle incident health officials noted that the best way to keep E.coli at bay is to be meticulous with hygiene, by thoroughly washing hands with soap and water.

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