The Chipotle restaurant chain has been in the news quite a bit lately for viral outbreaks. The latest outbreak occurred in Sterling, Virginia where over 100 people were infected with norovirus. Poisoned customers shared their stories on an internet forum site named iwaspoisoned.com.
Norovirus is a foodborne illness that infects over 20 million Americans annually. The disease causes acute gastroenteritis which causes vomiting and diarrhea. It is caused by contact with contaminated food and systems last for one to three days.
The virus is also contagious. Sterling customers posted their receipts on the iwaspoisoned.com website to prove that they did contract the virus from Chipotle. After a series of complaints, Chipotle closed the Sterling, VA location for a few days to sanitize and clean the building.
This isn’t the first time Chipotle has been responsible for a norovirus outbreak. The same situation occurred at a Boston area Chipotle in 2015. Over 120 Boston College students were infected with the norovirus.
Authorities linked the restaurant to the outbreak and ordered the company to close the location while they investigate.
Norovirus isn’t the only deadly bug at Chipotle restaurants. The chain went through an E Coli crisis in 2015. The Federal Drug Administration and Centers for Disease Control conducted an investigation in 2016 after the multistate outbreak. Various diners contracted a rare E-Coli strain.
Chipotle closed over 40 restaurants in Washington state and Oregon during the outbreak but reopened the restaurants again later that same month. Chipotle released a report stating that their restaurants no longer tested positive for E Coli, they will continue to test food ingredients, and they will adhere to all Federal food safety standards.
The tests conducted by the FDA and CDC concluded that the E. Coli outbreaks were all connected to the Pacific Northwest. The following year, Chipotle stock took a nosedive.
After the norovirus outbreak in Virginia, the Federal government has opted to issue a grand jury subpoena to Chipotle. The FDA’s Office of Criminal Investigations and the Central District of California’s US Attorney’s office are launching a criminal investigation into the company.