Pacific Northwest Chipotles To Reopen This Week, But E. Coli Origin Is Still Unknown

Good news for people craving burritos in Washington and Oregon: The 43 Chipotles affected by an E. coli outbreak will reopen this week after health officials determined there is no ongoing risk. The origin of the outbreak hasn’t been determined. Chipotle reassured customers they have deep-cleaned the stores, replaced all of the ingredients, and will continue to work with health officials to improve food-handling practices. 

When reached for comment, a rep for Chipotle directed Romper to a statement from co-CEO Steve Ellis on the restaurant chain's official website. It reads:

“The safety of our customers and integrity of our food supply has always been our highest priority. If there are any opportunities for us to do better in any facet of our sourcing or food handling – from the farms to our restaurants – we will find them. We are sorry to those affected by this situation, and it is our greatest priority to ensure that we go above and beyond to make certain that we find any opportunity to do better in any area of food safety.”

The company voluntarily shuttered the Seattle- and Portland-area stores at the end of October after people who dined at some of the restaurants became sick. Despite extensive testing of ingredients at the 11 stores directly linked to the outbreak, health officials did not confirm a link between any Chipotle ingredient and E. coli.

Three people who got E. coli poisoning after eating at Chipotle have filed lawsuits against the company to cover the lost wages, medical costs, other expenses incurred as a result of their illness, which they claim resulted from eating the company's food. Chipotle reassures customers they will “improve upon its already high standards for food safety” by working with two preeminent food safety scientists — so there’s no reason to fear when your next Chipotle craving hits.

Image: Mike Mozart/Flickr