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Chipotle E. coli outbreak includes three new states

CDC testing reduces count of consumers sickened by outbreak

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention downgraded Friday the number of reported E. coli cases related to the recent outbreak at Chipotle Mexican Grill, but added cases in three new states.

The number of people confirmed to have been infected by the Shiga toxin-producing E. coli 026, or STEC 026, specifically, is now at 45 as of Nov. 19, a reduction from an earlier count of 50 based on more sensitive DNA fingerprint testing, the CDC reported Friday.

However, the outbreak now includes people in California, New York and Ohio — three states not previously reported.

Previous counts had limited cases to Washington and Oregon, where 11 Chipotle restaurants were implicated, as well as Minnesota, where a person was believed to have traveled to the Pacific Northwest.

Of the six consumers sickened in the three new states — including two in Turlock, Calif., one in Akron, Ohio, one in Amherst, N.Y., and an additional case in Burnsville, Minn. — five said they ate at a Chipotle restaurant, according to Chipotle officials. But it was not clear where those units were located.

In Washington, 26 cases have been reported, with another 13 in Oregon, according to the CDC.

A common meal item or ingredient served at Chipotle is believed to be the source, but it has not yet been identified, the CDC said.

Of the 45 cases, 16 people have been hospitalized. There have been no deaths reported. The CDC said 43 of those sickened said they ate at a Chipotle.

Chipotle said no new cases have been reported in Washington and Oregon since the company took aggressive steps to make sure its restaurants were safe. The company voluntarily closed 43 units across the region and conducted deep cleaning, replaced ingredients and established new food safety protocols.

The restaurants in Washington and Oregon reopened earlier this month.

“We take this incident very seriously because the safety of our food and well being of our customers is always our highest priority,” Steve Ells, Chipotle chairman and co-CEO, said in a statement. “We are committed to taking any and all necessary actions to make sure our food is as safe as possible and we are working diligently with health agencies.”

Chipotle’s stock price dropped nearly 10 percent in late trading Friday to $550.75.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected].
Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout

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