Chipotle set to reopen despite unresolved investigation

Popular burrito restaurant will welcome customers again after an E. coli outbreak forced it to close 43 NW outposts.

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Chipotle will welcome customers again after an E. coli outbreak forced it to close 43 outposts in Oregon and Washington.

“Health officials have concluded that there is no ongoing risk from this incident,” according to a statement from the company.

The investigation of how the outbreak happened has been inconclusive.

Health authorities have failed to resolve the outbreak. Tests on food items from Chipotle stores by the Food and Drug Administration did not detect the bacteria. Health officials identified the bug as a strain E. coli O26, based on samples from patients. They suspected the culprit was a raw vegetable, such as lettuce, tomatoes, salsa or cilantro.

But they didn’t find the bug.

“The initial tests from food samples all came back negative,” said Dr. Scott Lindquist, state epidemiologist in Washington. “There was no E. coli on any of the food.”


The company has deep cleaned its restaurants and replaced all of its ingredients.

He said the company has agreed to ongoing testing of food served at its restaurants in Oregon, and to share those results with county public health officials. 

“I don’t know if we’re ready to raise the mission accomplished banner yet,” [Jonathan Modie, a spokesman with the Oregon Public Health Division] said.


Most of the people who fell ill were in the Portland area.

About a third of the victims were treated at hospitals for the illness. People in Clackamas and Washington counties in Oregon, and Clark, King, Skagit and Cowlitz counties in Washington have reported symptoms of infection, according to health officials.

(SOURCE: Portland Tribune)

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