Dozens of people across the U.S. have become ill after eating at the Mexican fast food chain Chipotle. Most recently, 120 Boston College students were sickened after eating at one of the chain’s nearby restaurants. State health officials confirmed that they were affected by norovirus, a highly contagious virus that may be spread by contaminated food or contact with contaminated surfaces. This outbreak is separate from the E.Coli outbreak, which according to CNN, has affected restaurants throughout the country and has led to the closing of more than 43 Chipotle’s in Washington and Oregon. The Chicago Tribune reports that Illinois has become the 9th state to identify a consumer becoming sick after dining at a Chipotle. Other states affected by the outbreak include Maryland, Pennsylvania, California, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, as well as Washington and Oregon.
No deaths have been attributed to the outbreak, however more than 50 people have reported illnesses – some of them severe – after being exposed to the E.Coli bacteria. In most cases, the symptoms began within a week of eating Chipotle’s food, and manifested as diarrhea and abdominal pain. However, more serious injuries can arise from exposure, such as the potential development of hemolytic uremic syndrome, or HUS, which is a type of kidney failure.
The chain has not been able to identify a particular food sources or item as the main culprit.
As the result of the outbreak, Chipotle has implemented a new food safety protocol which aims to maintain the quality of the food they ship. These improvements include enhanced testing and training, as well as other aggressive food safety and handling practices.
A little over 20 years ago, an E.coli outbreak attributed to Jack in the Box hamburgers made more than 700 consumers sick, and acted as a “wake up call” concerning the dangers of food borne illnesses, leading to changes in industry practices and government oversight. However over the last several years numerous food related outbreaks have occurred, leaving many to question whether our food handling processes have improved.
Salvi Schostok & Pritchard has a long history of working with individuals harmed as the result of eating tainted food. Often, where one individual suffers food poisoning numerous others are harmed as well. More than 70 of people were sickened at a Vernon Hills restaurant as the result of a salmonella outbreak caused by fecal/oral contamination of multiple food items. Lawyers from the firm represented numerous individuals and were able to recover compensation for the victims.
If you or a loved one has been sickened as the result of eating contaminated food, speaking with an attorney experienced in food poisoning and food borne illnesses is critical to determine your next steps. At Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, we are experienced in helping victims of eColi, salmonella and other types of food poisoning. Please call us at 1-800-salvi-law for an immediate consultation.