Hundreds of people have fallen ill after eating at a Chipotle Mexican Grill in Ohio, and now the fast food chain is facing several lawsuits because of it.
Authorities have yet to determine the exact cause of the outbreak, but Chipotle closed the said branch on July 30, Monday, "out of an abundance of caution," a spokesperson said.
People Are Getting Sick After Eating At Chipotle
As of writing, nearly 700 people have reported getting sick or seeking medical care after eating at the Chipotle branch in question. Initial stool samples tested negative for salmonella, shigella, E. Coli, and norovirus, according to Traci Whittaker, spokesperson for the Delaware County Health District.
The stool samples are poised to undergo more tests for other pathogens. Food samples will also be tested for Bacillus cereus, Clostridium perfringens, plus all the above-mentioned viruses.
Affected customers have been reporting symptoms such as diarrhea, fever, nausea, vomiting, and food poisoning to the Delaware County Health District and iwaspoisoned.com, a website dedicated to food safety surveillance. The reports come from customers who ate at the branch at some point between July 26 and 30.
The store reopened on Tuesday, July 31 after an inspection from the health district said it saw no reason for the chain not to reopen, according to Whittaker.
Chipotle Is Now Facing Lawsuits Over Massive Outbreak
People are pursuing lawsuits over the outbreak. As Eater reports, one suit was filed jointly by DiCello Levitt & Casey, a consumer rights law firm, and Ron Simon & Associates, which specializes in food safety.
In a statement, DiCello Levitt & Casey made note that the outbreak in question is just one of many food safety scandals Chipotle has had to face in recent years. Indeed, Chipotle had to close all its restaurants back in February 2016 over reported outbreaks of E. coli, salmonella, and norovirus at several locations in the United States.
"It's extraordinary that this is the seventh outbreak caused by Chipotle in recent years. Through this lawsuit and with the dozens of claims we are investigating, we will determine where and how Chipotle once again failed to protect its customers. This has become far too routine at Chipotle, and ultimately we want to make sure that the company doesn't let this happen again."
Both firms are pursuing class-action status. They are calling anyone who became sick to call in and report the incident to them, and to the local health department as well.
Another customer has launched a separate suit against the specific Chipotle branch. The person is still under medical care from food poisoning, but is seeking $25,000 in damages.