More food safety woes for Chipotle

by Erica Shaffer
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Exterior of Chipotle restaurant
A norovirus outbreak is the latest food safety problem to challenge Chipotle.

BOSTON – Some students attending Boston College got a tough lesson in food safety.

The Boston Public Health Commission, along with the City of Boston Inspectional Services Department (ISD) have launched an investigation after receiving reports of multiple gastrointestinal illnesses from individuals who ate a Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant in Cleveland Circle, which is near the Boston College campus. Preliminary tests of the restaurant show the outbreak was norovirus.

“There are currently 65 known case reports that include Boston College residents, students, and non-BC patrons, but the information is constantly evolving,” the commission said in a statement. “The restaurant is temporarily closed while ISD and BPHC continue investigations.”

Local news reports state that at least 80 Boston College students reported being sickened after eating at the restaurant. Public health officials closed the restaurant pending the investigation.

Earlier this month, Chipotle adopted an enhanced food safety program following an outbreak of E. coli O26 infections that public health officials linked to Chipotle restaurants in the Pacific Northwest. The company retained a consultant to conduct a farm-to-fork assessment of Chipotle’s ingredients and food safety practices.

“When I opened the first Chipotle 22 years ago, I offered a focused menu of just a few things made with fresh ingredients and prepared using classic cooking techniques,” Steve Ells, chairman and co-CEO of Chipotle, said at the time. “We do the same thing today, even with nearly 2,000 restaurants, and we are working harder than ever to ensure that our food is safe and delicious.”

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