Chipotle Mexican Grill is at it again it seems, as over six hundred people have reported being violently ill after dining at the popular restaurant’s Sawmill Parkway location in Powell, Ohio.
This time though, they have to prove themselves through the courts.
The chain is now facing two separate lawsuits to address the multiple food-poisoning outbreaks, with the latest reports from 624 people being made between July 26th-30th.
This is quite the blow for the Mexican-food chain after a rash of reports of foodborne illnesses were reported across the nation in 2015.
At that time, the eatery had promised to minimize such risks by introducing new food-handling policies in both their restaurants and with their suppliers.
Chipotle is already under a criminal investigation from the FDA after 207 people reportedly contracted the Norovirus after eating at one of their California locations.
It wasn’t that long ago that Chipotle CEO, Steve Ells, said in an interview with TODAY that the company expected to eliminate such outbreaks with modern, top quality food-handling practices.
“The procedures we are putting in place today are so above the industry norms, that we are going to be the safest place to eat.”
Although extreme, the promise was certainly necessary as the California outbreak was just one of seven over the past few years.
Chipotle had to close their Sawmill location following the 624 reports of food-poisoning, received by the Delaware General Health District in the last week of July.
The restaurant’s spokesperson told TODAY the reason they shut down.
“to implement … food safety response protocols that included total replacement of all food inventory and a complete cleaning and sanitation of the restaurant”
Delaware Health District says all tests so far have come back negative for the major foodborne illnesses, such as Norovirus, Shigella, E. coli, and salmonella, but the inspection will continue for some time.
While Chipotle was able to reopen its doors for business, it’s not without consequence.
The company now faces a lawsuit from the DiCello Levitt & Casey, a consumer rights law firm who works on a national level, as well as Ron Simon & Associates, a food safety law firm.
According to lawyer Mark A. DiCello, the aim of the lawsuit is to figure out what, exactly, is causing the outbreaks and the point of origination.
“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.”
Weighing in on just what the company has in store, Aaron Allen, the CEO of the global restaurant consulting firm Aaron Allen & Associates told TODAY that the company may get through this.
“Chipotle has installed a new executive leadership team this year, which he said likely hasn’t had time to get the company reorganized. “
According to the article, Allen actually believes investors in the company will be understanding of the food poisoning.
“Despite the setbacks, however, investors are becoming desensitized to the food poisoning scares, and understand that Chipotle is more prone to these issues with the number of stores nationwide and the amount of fresh food they handle daily.”
This doesn’t really mean Chipotle is in the clear though, as Allen explains people can’t keep getting sick if they are going to survive as a food chain.
“If these [food scares] keep happening, it’s going to be increasingly difficult to recover from it.”
In the meantime, Chipotle diners are showing mixed views on social media.
While some say that nothing can deter them from the delicious burrito’s and other Mexican food-fair, other’s are determined to never grace the company with their appetites, or their money, again.
There’s another food borne illness outbreak from Chipotle? I’ll gladly take my chances 🌯
— Kyle Gerhart (@kylegerhart2) August 7, 2018
Chipotle just needs to close up and call it a done deal 🤢🤮
— Aquarian Goddess (@ReneeBr56236293) August 3, 2018
— JoeJoe (@trashpandajoe) August 8, 2018
Man it seems like eating at chipotle’s is like Russian roulette! Constantly seeing illness from food issues. Had incident myself. C’mon guys get your act together.
— Jumbo Elliott (@JumboElliott76) August 8, 2018
It does appear that the chain is trying to “clean up their act”, as they have cooperated with appropriate authorities throughout the investigation.
Their spokesperson said they want to ensure the health and safety of everyone they serve.
“The health of our guests and employees is our top priority.”
The restaurant hasn’t had any reported outbreaks since late July, which is a hopeful sign for the company.
However, when it comes to the question of whether or not they can keep their doors open through a criminal investigation followed by two pending lawsuits….well, only time can tell.
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