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200 People Sickened After Massive Norovirus Outbreak at Catered Event in Seattle

200 People Sickened After Massive Norovirus Outbreak at Catered Event in Seattle

A reported 200 people have been sickened and two hospitalized after a major catered event in a Seattle skyscraper this past week

Wikimedia Commons

More than one-third of the party was sickened by an outbreak of norovirus.

Just weeks after the massive Chipotle E. coli scandal died down, another large-scale food poisoning outbreak has been reported. At least 200 people were sickened and two hospitalized after a major catered event that took place in Seattle this past week resulted in the spread of a norovirus bacterium.

Approximately 600 people had attended the event on December 1 in the cafeteria at Russel Investments Center. The event was catered by Bon Appetit Management Co.

“The source of this illness remains unclear, and we are as eager as anyone to learn precisely how and when it began," the catering company said in a statement. "We have worked with our food safety experts to disinfect the surfaces in our facility and have taken all other necessary steps to ensure food safety."

Norovirus is a foodborne illness that leads to stomach pain, nausea, and diarrhea, according to the CDC. Norovirus is the most common cause of food poisoning outbreaks in America, causing approximately 19 million to 21 million illnesses and 570-800 deaths annually.


E. coli in Northwest marks Chipotle's 3rd outbreak this year

1 of 5 Chipotle closed 43 of its restaurants, including this one in Seattle, as a precaution Monday after an E. coli outbreak sickened nearly two dozen people.  Elaine Thompson/STF Show More Show Less

2 of 5 A pedestrian walks past a closed Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore., Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. Chipotle voluntarily closed down 43 of its locations in Washington and in the Portland area as a precaution after an E. coli outbreak linked to six of its restaurants in the two states has sickened nearly two dozen people. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

3 of 5 A sign posted on the door of a Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore. reads "temporarily closed due to a supply chain issue," on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. An E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants in Washington state and Oregon has sickened nearly two dozen people in the third outbreak of food borne illness at the popular chain this year. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

4 of 5 A sign posted on the door of a Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore. reads that the location is "temporarily closed due to a supply chain issue," on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. An E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants in Washington state and Oregon has sickened nearly two dozen people in the third outbreak of food borne illness at the popular chain this year. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

5 of 5 Signage hangs from a closed Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore., Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. Chipotle voluntarily closed down 43 of its locations in Washington and the Portland area as a precaution after an E. coli outbreak linked to six of its restaurants in the two states has sickened nearly two dozen people. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

SEATTLE - Chipotle closed 43 of its Pacific Northwest locations after the chain's third foodborne illness this year sickened about two dozen people - prompting renewed scrutiny of a company that touts its use of fresh ingredients and farm-sourced fare.

Cases of the bacterial illness were traced to six of the casual Mexican food restaurants, but the company voluntarily closed down all of its locations in Washington and the Portland, Ore., area as a precaution as an investigation continues.

Three people in the Portland area and 19 people in western Washington have gotten sick with E. coli as of Friday. Seventeen of them had eaten at a Chipotle restaurant during the past few weeks. Eight people have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported.

About a dozen more people were being tested for E. coli on Monday in Washington state, and health officials were aggressively searching for more cases, said Dr. Scott Lindquist, state epidemiologist for communicable diseases for the Washington State Department of Health.

Lindquist does not expect the number of sick people to increase dramatically, and he said they are not positive yet that the outbreak is limited to people who ate at Chipotle restaurants over the past few weeks.

Those sickened in the E. coli outbreak range in age from 11 to 61. Lindquist did not have any detailed information about their medical conditions.

Chipotle has faced other recent foodborne outbreaks. A salmonella outbreak linked to tomatoes sickened dozens of people in Minnesota beginning in August, according to state health officials. In California, health workers said norovirus sickened nearly 100 customers and employees at a Chipotle restaurant in Simi Valley in mid-August.

"Having three problems in a couple of months means that Chipotle is not paying attention to food safety like it should," said Bill Marler, a food safety lawyer who built his reputation with the 1993 E. coli outbreak at Seattle Jack in the Box restaurants.

The common denominator in most foodborne illness outbreaks is poor food safety, Marler said.

People should not assume a company that focuses on local and fresh ingredients - like Chipotle - is going to be immune from food safety issues, he said. "People shouldn't have a false sense of security that local means safer," Marler said.

Health officials believe the contamination at Chipotle is related to a fresh food product such as lettuce or other produce.

The outbreak probably will not be traced to one sick individual or one instance of cross-contamination of food because the cases are connected with various restaurants, said Marisa D'Angeli, medical epidemiologist with the Washington State Department of Health.

The company is not planning to close any other restaurants in other states because there is no evidence of a link to other locations, company spokesman Chris Arnold said.

Only six restaurants in Washington and Oregon have been connected to the outbreak.

Although the shutdown restaurants represent just 2 percent of the company's 1,931 locations, each restaurant brings in about $2.5 million in revenue a year on average, according to Chipotle.


E. coli in Northwest marks Chipotle's 3rd outbreak this year

1 of 5 Chipotle closed 43 of its restaurants, including this one in Seattle, as a precaution Monday after an E. coli outbreak sickened nearly two dozen people.  Elaine Thompson/STF Show More Show Less

2 of 5 A pedestrian walks past a closed Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore., Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. Chipotle voluntarily closed down 43 of its locations in Washington and in the Portland area as a precaution after an E. coli outbreak linked to six of its restaurants in the two states has sickened nearly two dozen people. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

3 of 5 A sign posted on the door of a Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore. reads "temporarily closed due to a supply chain issue," on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. An E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants in Washington state and Oregon has sickened nearly two dozen people in the third outbreak of food borne illness at the popular chain this year. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

4 of 5 A sign posted on the door of a Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore. reads that the location is "temporarily closed due to a supply chain issue," on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. An E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants in Washington state and Oregon has sickened nearly two dozen people in the third outbreak of food borne illness at the popular chain this year. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

5 of 5 Signage hangs from a closed Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore., Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. Chipotle voluntarily closed down 43 of its locations in Washington and the Portland area as a precaution after an E. coli outbreak linked to six of its restaurants in the two states has sickened nearly two dozen people. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

SEATTLE - Chipotle closed 43 of its Pacific Northwest locations after the chain's third foodborne illness this year sickened about two dozen people - prompting renewed scrutiny of a company that touts its use of fresh ingredients and farm-sourced fare.

Cases of the bacterial illness were traced to six of the casual Mexican food restaurants, but the company voluntarily closed down all of its locations in Washington and the Portland, Ore., area as a precaution as an investigation continues.

Three people in the Portland area and 19 people in western Washington have gotten sick with E. coli as of Friday. Seventeen of them had eaten at a Chipotle restaurant during the past few weeks. Eight people have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported.

About a dozen more people were being tested for E. coli on Monday in Washington state, and health officials were aggressively searching for more cases, said Dr. Scott Lindquist, state epidemiologist for communicable diseases for the Washington State Department of Health.

Lindquist does not expect the number of sick people to increase dramatically, and he said they are not positive yet that the outbreak is limited to people who ate at Chipotle restaurants over the past few weeks.

Those sickened in the E. coli outbreak range in age from 11 to 61. Lindquist did not have any detailed information about their medical conditions.

Chipotle has faced other recent foodborne outbreaks. A salmonella outbreak linked to tomatoes sickened dozens of people in Minnesota beginning in August, according to state health officials. In California, health workers said norovirus sickened nearly 100 customers and employees at a Chipotle restaurant in Simi Valley in mid-August.

"Having three problems in a couple of months means that Chipotle is not paying attention to food safety like it should," said Bill Marler, a food safety lawyer who built his reputation with the 1993 E. coli outbreak at Seattle Jack in the Box restaurants.

The common denominator in most foodborne illness outbreaks is poor food safety, Marler said.

People should not assume a company that focuses on local and fresh ingredients - like Chipotle - is going to be immune from food safety issues, he said. "People shouldn't have a false sense of security that local means safer," Marler said.

Health officials believe the contamination at Chipotle is related to a fresh food product such as lettuce or other produce.

The outbreak probably will not be traced to one sick individual or one instance of cross-contamination of food because the cases are connected with various restaurants, said Marisa D'Angeli, medical epidemiologist with the Washington State Department of Health.

The company is not planning to close any other restaurants in other states because there is no evidence of a link to other locations, company spokesman Chris Arnold said.

Only six restaurants in Washington and Oregon have been connected to the outbreak.

Although the shutdown restaurants represent just 2 percent of the company's 1,931 locations, each restaurant brings in about $2.5 million in revenue a year on average, according to Chipotle.


E. coli in Northwest marks Chipotle's 3rd outbreak this year

1 of 5 Chipotle closed 43 of its restaurants, including this one in Seattle, as a precaution Monday after an E. coli outbreak sickened nearly two dozen people.  Elaine Thompson/STF Show More Show Less

2 of 5 A pedestrian walks past a closed Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore., Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. Chipotle voluntarily closed down 43 of its locations in Washington and in the Portland area as a precaution after an E. coli outbreak linked to six of its restaurants in the two states has sickened nearly two dozen people. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

3 of 5 A sign posted on the door of a Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore. reads "temporarily closed due to a supply chain issue," on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. An E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants in Washington state and Oregon has sickened nearly two dozen people in the third outbreak of food borne illness at the popular chain this year. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

4 of 5 A sign posted on the door of a Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore. reads that the location is "temporarily closed due to a supply chain issue," on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. An E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants in Washington state and Oregon has sickened nearly two dozen people in the third outbreak of food borne illness at the popular chain this year. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

5 of 5 Signage hangs from a closed Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore., Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. Chipotle voluntarily closed down 43 of its locations in Washington and the Portland area as a precaution after an E. coli outbreak linked to six of its restaurants in the two states has sickened nearly two dozen people. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

SEATTLE - Chipotle closed 43 of its Pacific Northwest locations after the chain's third foodborne illness this year sickened about two dozen people - prompting renewed scrutiny of a company that touts its use of fresh ingredients and farm-sourced fare.

Cases of the bacterial illness were traced to six of the casual Mexican food restaurants, but the company voluntarily closed down all of its locations in Washington and the Portland, Ore., area as a precaution as an investigation continues.

Three people in the Portland area and 19 people in western Washington have gotten sick with E. coli as of Friday. Seventeen of them had eaten at a Chipotle restaurant during the past few weeks. Eight people have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported.

About a dozen more people were being tested for E. coli on Monday in Washington state, and health officials were aggressively searching for more cases, said Dr. Scott Lindquist, state epidemiologist for communicable diseases for the Washington State Department of Health.

Lindquist does not expect the number of sick people to increase dramatically, and he said they are not positive yet that the outbreak is limited to people who ate at Chipotle restaurants over the past few weeks.

Those sickened in the E. coli outbreak range in age from 11 to 61. Lindquist did not have any detailed information about their medical conditions.

Chipotle has faced other recent foodborne outbreaks. A salmonella outbreak linked to tomatoes sickened dozens of people in Minnesota beginning in August, according to state health officials. In California, health workers said norovirus sickened nearly 100 customers and employees at a Chipotle restaurant in Simi Valley in mid-August.

"Having three problems in a couple of months means that Chipotle is not paying attention to food safety like it should," said Bill Marler, a food safety lawyer who built his reputation with the 1993 E. coli outbreak at Seattle Jack in the Box restaurants.

The common denominator in most foodborne illness outbreaks is poor food safety, Marler said.

People should not assume a company that focuses on local and fresh ingredients - like Chipotle - is going to be immune from food safety issues, he said. "People shouldn't have a false sense of security that local means safer," Marler said.

Health officials believe the contamination at Chipotle is related to a fresh food product such as lettuce or other produce.

The outbreak probably will not be traced to one sick individual or one instance of cross-contamination of food because the cases are connected with various restaurants, said Marisa D'Angeli, medical epidemiologist with the Washington State Department of Health.

The company is not planning to close any other restaurants in other states because there is no evidence of a link to other locations, company spokesman Chris Arnold said.

Only six restaurants in Washington and Oregon have been connected to the outbreak.

Although the shutdown restaurants represent just 2 percent of the company's 1,931 locations, each restaurant brings in about $2.5 million in revenue a year on average, according to Chipotle.


E. coli in Northwest marks Chipotle's 3rd outbreak this year

1 of 5 Chipotle closed 43 of its restaurants, including this one in Seattle, as a precaution Monday after an E. coli outbreak sickened nearly two dozen people.  Elaine Thompson/STF Show More Show Less

2 of 5 A pedestrian walks past a closed Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore., Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. Chipotle voluntarily closed down 43 of its locations in Washington and in the Portland area as a precaution after an E. coli outbreak linked to six of its restaurants in the two states has sickened nearly two dozen people. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

3 of 5 A sign posted on the door of a Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore. reads "temporarily closed due to a supply chain issue," on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. An E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants in Washington state and Oregon has sickened nearly two dozen people in the third outbreak of food borne illness at the popular chain this year. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

4 of 5 A sign posted on the door of a Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore. reads that the location is "temporarily closed due to a supply chain issue," on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. An E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants in Washington state and Oregon has sickened nearly two dozen people in the third outbreak of food borne illness at the popular chain this year. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

5 of 5 Signage hangs from a closed Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore., Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. Chipotle voluntarily closed down 43 of its locations in Washington and the Portland area as a precaution after an E. coli outbreak linked to six of its restaurants in the two states has sickened nearly two dozen people. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

SEATTLE - Chipotle closed 43 of its Pacific Northwest locations after the chain's third foodborne illness this year sickened about two dozen people - prompting renewed scrutiny of a company that touts its use of fresh ingredients and farm-sourced fare.

Cases of the bacterial illness were traced to six of the casual Mexican food restaurants, but the company voluntarily closed down all of its locations in Washington and the Portland, Ore., area as a precaution as an investigation continues.

Three people in the Portland area and 19 people in western Washington have gotten sick with E. coli as of Friday. Seventeen of them had eaten at a Chipotle restaurant during the past few weeks. Eight people have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported.

About a dozen more people were being tested for E. coli on Monday in Washington state, and health officials were aggressively searching for more cases, said Dr. Scott Lindquist, state epidemiologist for communicable diseases for the Washington State Department of Health.

Lindquist does not expect the number of sick people to increase dramatically, and he said they are not positive yet that the outbreak is limited to people who ate at Chipotle restaurants over the past few weeks.

Those sickened in the E. coli outbreak range in age from 11 to 61. Lindquist did not have any detailed information about their medical conditions.

Chipotle has faced other recent foodborne outbreaks. A salmonella outbreak linked to tomatoes sickened dozens of people in Minnesota beginning in August, according to state health officials. In California, health workers said norovirus sickened nearly 100 customers and employees at a Chipotle restaurant in Simi Valley in mid-August.

"Having three problems in a couple of months means that Chipotle is not paying attention to food safety like it should," said Bill Marler, a food safety lawyer who built his reputation with the 1993 E. coli outbreak at Seattle Jack in the Box restaurants.

The common denominator in most foodborne illness outbreaks is poor food safety, Marler said.

People should not assume a company that focuses on local and fresh ingredients - like Chipotle - is going to be immune from food safety issues, he said. "People shouldn't have a false sense of security that local means safer," Marler said.

Health officials believe the contamination at Chipotle is related to a fresh food product such as lettuce or other produce.

The outbreak probably will not be traced to one sick individual or one instance of cross-contamination of food because the cases are connected with various restaurants, said Marisa D'Angeli, medical epidemiologist with the Washington State Department of Health.

The company is not planning to close any other restaurants in other states because there is no evidence of a link to other locations, company spokesman Chris Arnold said.

Only six restaurants in Washington and Oregon have been connected to the outbreak.

Although the shutdown restaurants represent just 2 percent of the company's 1,931 locations, each restaurant brings in about $2.5 million in revenue a year on average, according to Chipotle.


E. coli in Northwest marks Chipotle's 3rd outbreak this year

1 of 5 Chipotle closed 43 of its restaurants, including this one in Seattle, as a precaution Monday after an E. coli outbreak sickened nearly two dozen people.  Elaine Thompson/STF Show More Show Less

2 of 5 A pedestrian walks past a closed Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore., Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. Chipotle voluntarily closed down 43 of its locations in Washington and in the Portland area as a precaution after an E. coli outbreak linked to six of its restaurants in the two states has sickened nearly two dozen people. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

3 of 5 A sign posted on the door of a Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore. reads "temporarily closed due to a supply chain issue," on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. An E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants in Washington state and Oregon has sickened nearly two dozen people in the third outbreak of food borne illness at the popular chain this year. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

4 of 5 A sign posted on the door of a Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore. reads that the location is "temporarily closed due to a supply chain issue," on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. An E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants in Washington state and Oregon has sickened nearly two dozen people in the third outbreak of food borne illness at the popular chain this year. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

5 of 5 Signage hangs from a closed Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore., Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. Chipotle voluntarily closed down 43 of its locations in Washington and the Portland area as a precaution after an E. coli outbreak linked to six of its restaurants in the two states has sickened nearly two dozen people. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

SEATTLE - Chipotle closed 43 of its Pacific Northwest locations after the chain's third foodborne illness this year sickened about two dozen people - prompting renewed scrutiny of a company that touts its use of fresh ingredients and farm-sourced fare.

Cases of the bacterial illness were traced to six of the casual Mexican food restaurants, but the company voluntarily closed down all of its locations in Washington and the Portland, Ore., area as a precaution as an investigation continues.

Three people in the Portland area and 19 people in western Washington have gotten sick with E. coli as of Friday. Seventeen of them had eaten at a Chipotle restaurant during the past few weeks. Eight people have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported.

About a dozen more people were being tested for E. coli on Monday in Washington state, and health officials were aggressively searching for more cases, said Dr. Scott Lindquist, state epidemiologist for communicable diseases for the Washington State Department of Health.

Lindquist does not expect the number of sick people to increase dramatically, and he said they are not positive yet that the outbreak is limited to people who ate at Chipotle restaurants over the past few weeks.

Those sickened in the E. coli outbreak range in age from 11 to 61. Lindquist did not have any detailed information about their medical conditions.

Chipotle has faced other recent foodborne outbreaks. A salmonella outbreak linked to tomatoes sickened dozens of people in Minnesota beginning in August, according to state health officials. In California, health workers said norovirus sickened nearly 100 customers and employees at a Chipotle restaurant in Simi Valley in mid-August.

"Having three problems in a couple of months means that Chipotle is not paying attention to food safety like it should," said Bill Marler, a food safety lawyer who built his reputation with the 1993 E. coli outbreak at Seattle Jack in the Box restaurants.

The common denominator in most foodborne illness outbreaks is poor food safety, Marler said.

People should not assume a company that focuses on local and fresh ingredients - like Chipotle - is going to be immune from food safety issues, he said. "People shouldn't have a false sense of security that local means safer," Marler said.

Health officials believe the contamination at Chipotle is related to a fresh food product such as lettuce or other produce.

The outbreak probably will not be traced to one sick individual or one instance of cross-contamination of food because the cases are connected with various restaurants, said Marisa D'Angeli, medical epidemiologist with the Washington State Department of Health.

The company is not planning to close any other restaurants in other states because there is no evidence of a link to other locations, company spokesman Chris Arnold said.

Only six restaurants in Washington and Oregon have been connected to the outbreak.

Although the shutdown restaurants represent just 2 percent of the company's 1,931 locations, each restaurant brings in about $2.5 million in revenue a year on average, according to Chipotle.


E. coli in Northwest marks Chipotle's 3rd outbreak this year

1 of 5 Chipotle closed 43 of its restaurants, including this one in Seattle, as a precaution Monday after an E. coli outbreak sickened nearly two dozen people.  Elaine Thompson/STF Show More Show Less

2 of 5 A pedestrian walks past a closed Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore., Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. Chipotle voluntarily closed down 43 of its locations in Washington and in the Portland area as a precaution after an E. coli outbreak linked to six of its restaurants in the two states has sickened nearly two dozen people. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

3 of 5 A sign posted on the door of a Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore. reads "temporarily closed due to a supply chain issue," on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. An E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants in Washington state and Oregon has sickened nearly two dozen people in the third outbreak of food borne illness at the popular chain this year. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

4 of 5 A sign posted on the door of a Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore. reads that the location is "temporarily closed due to a supply chain issue," on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. An E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants in Washington state and Oregon has sickened nearly two dozen people in the third outbreak of food borne illness at the popular chain this year. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

5 of 5 Signage hangs from a closed Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore., Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. Chipotle voluntarily closed down 43 of its locations in Washington and the Portland area as a precaution after an E. coli outbreak linked to six of its restaurants in the two states has sickened nearly two dozen people. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

SEATTLE - Chipotle closed 43 of its Pacific Northwest locations after the chain's third foodborne illness this year sickened about two dozen people - prompting renewed scrutiny of a company that touts its use of fresh ingredients and farm-sourced fare.

Cases of the bacterial illness were traced to six of the casual Mexican food restaurants, but the company voluntarily closed down all of its locations in Washington and the Portland, Ore., area as a precaution as an investigation continues.

Three people in the Portland area and 19 people in western Washington have gotten sick with E. coli as of Friday. Seventeen of them had eaten at a Chipotle restaurant during the past few weeks. Eight people have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported.

About a dozen more people were being tested for E. coli on Monday in Washington state, and health officials were aggressively searching for more cases, said Dr. Scott Lindquist, state epidemiologist for communicable diseases for the Washington State Department of Health.

Lindquist does not expect the number of sick people to increase dramatically, and he said they are not positive yet that the outbreak is limited to people who ate at Chipotle restaurants over the past few weeks.

Those sickened in the E. coli outbreak range in age from 11 to 61. Lindquist did not have any detailed information about their medical conditions.

Chipotle has faced other recent foodborne outbreaks. A salmonella outbreak linked to tomatoes sickened dozens of people in Minnesota beginning in August, according to state health officials. In California, health workers said norovirus sickened nearly 100 customers and employees at a Chipotle restaurant in Simi Valley in mid-August.

"Having three problems in a couple of months means that Chipotle is not paying attention to food safety like it should," said Bill Marler, a food safety lawyer who built his reputation with the 1993 E. coli outbreak at Seattle Jack in the Box restaurants.

The common denominator in most foodborne illness outbreaks is poor food safety, Marler said.

People should not assume a company that focuses on local and fresh ingredients - like Chipotle - is going to be immune from food safety issues, he said. "People shouldn't have a false sense of security that local means safer," Marler said.

Health officials believe the contamination at Chipotle is related to a fresh food product such as lettuce or other produce.

The outbreak probably will not be traced to one sick individual or one instance of cross-contamination of food because the cases are connected with various restaurants, said Marisa D'Angeli, medical epidemiologist with the Washington State Department of Health.

The company is not planning to close any other restaurants in other states because there is no evidence of a link to other locations, company spokesman Chris Arnold said.

Only six restaurants in Washington and Oregon have been connected to the outbreak.

Although the shutdown restaurants represent just 2 percent of the company's 1,931 locations, each restaurant brings in about $2.5 million in revenue a year on average, according to Chipotle.


E. coli in Northwest marks Chipotle's 3rd outbreak this year

1 of 5 Chipotle closed 43 of its restaurants, including this one in Seattle, as a precaution Monday after an E. coli outbreak sickened nearly two dozen people.  Elaine Thompson/STF Show More Show Less

2 of 5 A pedestrian walks past a closed Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore., Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. Chipotle voluntarily closed down 43 of its locations in Washington and in the Portland area as a precaution after an E. coli outbreak linked to six of its restaurants in the two states has sickened nearly two dozen people. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

3 of 5 A sign posted on the door of a Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore. reads "temporarily closed due to a supply chain issue," on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. An E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants in Washington state and Oregon has sickened nearly two dozen people in the third outbreak of food borne illness at the popular chain this year. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

4 of 5 A sign posted on the door of a Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore. reads that the location is "temporarily closed due to a supply chain issue," on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. An E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants in Washington state and Oregon has sickened nearly two dozen people in the third outbreak of food borne illness at the popular chain this year. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

5 of 5 Signage hangs from a closed Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore., Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. Chipotle voluntarily closed down 43 of its locations in Washington and the Portland area as a precaution after an E. coli outbreak linked to six of its restaurants in the two states has sickened nearly two dozen people. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

SEATTLE - Chipotle closed 43 of its Pacific Northwest locations after the chain's third foodborne illness this year sickened about two dozen people - prompting renewed scrutiny of a company that touts its use of fresh ingredients and farm-sourced fare.

Cases of the bacterial illness were traced to six of the casual Mexican food restaurants, but the company voluntarily closed down all of its locations in Washington and the Portland, Ore., area as a precaution as an investigation continues.

Three people in the Portland area and 19 people in western Washington have gotten sick with E. coli as of Friday. Seventeen of them had eaten at a Chipotle restaurant during the past few weeks. Eight people have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported.

About a dozen more people were being tested for E. coli on Monday in Washington state, and health officials were aggressively searching for more cases, said Dr. Scott Lindquist, state epidemiologist for communicable diseases for the Washington State Department of Health.

Lindquist does not expect the number of sick people to increase dramatically, and he said they are not positive yet that the outbreak is limited to people who ate at Chipotle restaurants over the past few weeks.

Those sickened in the E. coli outbreak range in age from 11 to 61. Lindquist did not have any detailed information about their medical conditions.

Chipotle has faced other recent foodborne outbreaks. A salmonella outbreak linked to tomatoes sickened dozens of people in Minnesota beginning in August, according to state health officials. In California, health workers said norovirus sickened nearly 100 customers and employees at a Chipotle restaurant in Simi Valley in mid-August.

"Having three problems in a couple of months means that Chipotle is not paying attention to food safety like it should," said Bill Marler, a food safety lawyer who built his reputation with the 1993 E. coli outbreak at Seattle Jack in the Box restaurants.

The common denominator in most foodborne illness outbreaks is poor food safety, Marler said.

People should not assume a company that focuses on local and fresh ingredients - like Chipotle - is going to be immune from food safety issues, he said. "People shouldn't have a false sense of security that local means safer," Marler said.

Health officials believe the contamination at Chipotle is related to a fresh food product such as lettuce or other produce.

The outbreak probably will not be traced to one sick individual or one instance of cross-contamination of food because the cases are connected with various restaurants, said Marisa D'Angeli, medical epidemiologist with the Washington State Department of Health.

The company is not planning to close any other restaurants in other states because there is no evidence of a link to other locations, company spokesman Chris Arnold said.

Only six restaurants in Washington and Oregon have been connected to the outbreak.

Although the shutdown restaurants represent just 2 percent of the company's 1,931 locations, each restaurant brings in about $2.5 million in revenue a year on average, according to Chipotle.


E. coli in Northwest marks Chipotle's 3rd outbreak this year

1 of 5 Chipotle closed 43 of its restaurants, including this one in Seattle, as a precaution Monday after an E. coli outbreak sickened nearly two dozen people.  Elaine Thompson/STF Show More Show Less

2 of 5 A pedestrian walks past a closed Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore., Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. Chipotle voluntarily closed down 43 of its locations in Washington and in the Portland area as a precaution after an E. coli outbreak linked to six of its restaurants in the two states has sickened nearly two dozen people. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

3 of 5 A sign posted on the door of a Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore. reads "temporarily closed due to a supply chain issue," on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. An E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants in Washington state and Oregon has sickened nearly two dozen people in the third outbreak of food borne illness at the popular chain this year. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

4 of 5 A sign posted on the door of a Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore. reads that the location is "temporarily closed due to a supply chain issue," on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. An E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants in Washington state and Oregon has sickened nearly two dozen people in the third outbreak of food borne illness at the popular chain this year. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

5 of 5 Signage hangs from a closed Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore., Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. Chipotle voluntarily closed down 43 of its locations in Washington and the Portland area as a precaution after an E. coli outbreak linked to six of its restaurants in the two states has sickened nearly two dozen people. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

SEATTLE - Chipotle closed 43 of its Pacific Northwest locations after the chain's third foodborne illness this year sickened about two dozen people - prompting renewed scrutiny of a company that touts its use of fresh ingredients and farm-sourced fare.

Cases of the bacterial illness were traced to six of the casual Mexican food restaurants, but the company voluntarily closed down all of its locations in Washington and the Portland, Ore., area as a precaution as an investigation continues.

Three people in the Portland area and 19 people in western Washington have gotten sick with E. coli as of Friday. Seventeen of them had eaten at a Chipotle restaurant during the past few weeks. Eight people have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported.

About a dozen more people were being tested for E. coli on Monday in Washington state, and health officials were aggressively searching for more cases, said Dr. Scott Lindquist, state epidemiologist for communicable diseases for the Washington State Department of Health.

Lindquist does not expect the number of sick people to increase dramatically, and he said they are not positive yet that the outbreak is limited to people who ate at Chipotle restaurants over the past few weeks.

Those sickened in the E. coli outbreak range in age from 11 to 61. Lindquist did not have any detailed information about their medical conditions.

Chipotle has faced other recent foodborne outbreaks. A salmonella outbreak linked to tomatoes sickened dozens of people in Minnesota beginning in August, according to state health officials. In California, health workers said norovirus sickened nearly 100 customers and employees at a Chipotle restaurant in Simi Valley in mid-August.

"Having three problems in a couple of months means that Chipotle is not paying attention to food safety like it should," said Bill Marler, a food safety lawyer who built his reputation with the 1993 E. coli outbreak at Seattle Jack in the Box restaurants.

The common denominator in most foodborne illness outbreaks is poor food safety, Marler said.

People should not assume a company that focuses on local and fresh ingredients - like Chipotle - is going to be immune from food safety issues, he said. "People shouldn't have a false sense of security that local means safer," Marler said.

Health officials believe the contamination at Chipotle is related to a fresh food product such as lettuce or other produce.

The outbreak probably will not be traced to one sick individual or one instance of cross-contamination of food because the cases are connected with various restaurants, said Marisa D'Angeli, medical epidemiologist with the Washington State Department of Health.

The company is not planning to close any other restaurants in other states because there is no evidence of a link to other locations, company spokesman Chris Arnold said.

Only six restaurants in Washington and Oregon have been connected to the outbreak.

Although the shutdown restaurants represent just 2 percent of the company's 1,931 locations, each restaurant brings in about $2.5 million in revenue a year on average, according to Chipotle.


E. coli in Northwest marks Chipotle's 3rd outbreak this year

1 of 5 Chipotle closed 43 of its restaurants, including this one in Seattle, as a precaution Monday after an E. coli outbreak sickened nearly two dozen people.  Elaine Thompson/STF Show More Show Less

2 of 5 A pedestrian walks past a closed Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore., Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. Chipotle voluntarily closed down 43 of its locations in Washington and in the Portland area as a precaution after an E. coli outbreak linked to six of its restaurants in the two states has sickened nearly two dozen people. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

3 of 5 A sign posted on the door of a Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore. reads "temporarily closed due to a supply chain issue," on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. An E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants in Washington state and Oregon has sickened nearly two dozen people in the third outbreak of food borne illness at the popular chain this year. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

4 of 5 A sign posted on the door of a Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore. reads that the location is "temporarily closed due to a supply chain issue," on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. An E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants in Washington state and Oregon has sickened nearly two dozen people in the third outbreak of food borne illness at the popular chain this year. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

5 of 5 Signage hangs from a closed Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore., Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. Chipotle voluntarily closed down 43 of its locations in Washington and the Portland area as a precaution after an E. coli outbreak linked to six of its restaurants in the two states has sickened nearly two dozen people. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

SEATTLE - Chipotle closed 43 of its Pacific Northwest locations after the chain's third foodborne illness this year sickened about two dozen people - prompting renewed scrutiny of a company that touts its use of fresh ingredients and farm-sourced fare.

Cases of the bacterial illness were traced to six of the casual Mexican food restaurants, but the company voluntarily closed down all of its locations in Washington and the Portland, Ore., area as a precaution as an investigation continues.

Three people in the Portland area and 19 people in western Washington have gotten sick with E. coli as of Friday. Seventeen of them had eaten at a Chipotle restaurant during the past few weeks. Eight people have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported.

About a dozen more people were being tested for E. coli on Monday in Washington state, and health officials were aggressively searching for more cases, said Dr. Scott Lindquist, state epidemiologist for communicable diseases for the Washington State Department of Health.

Lindquist does not expect the number of sick people to increase dramatically, and he said they are not positive yet that the outbreak is limited to people who ate at Chipotle restaurants over the past few weeks.

Those sickened in the E. coli outbreak range in age from 11 to 61. Lindquist did not have any detailed information about their medical conditions.

Chipotle has faced other recent foodborne outbreaks. A salmonella outbreak linked to tomatoes sickened dozens of people in Minnesota beginning in August, according to state health officials. In California, health workers said norovirus sickened nearly 100 customers and employees at a Chipotle restaurant in Simi Valley in mid-August.

"Having three problems in a couple of months means that Chipotle is not paying attention to food safety like it should," said Bill Marler, a food safety lawyer who built his reputation with the 1993 E. coli outbreak at Seattle Jack in the Box restaurants.

The common denominator in most foodborne illness outbreaks is poor food safety, Marler said.

People should not assume a company that focuses on local and fresh ingredients - like Chipotle - is going to be immune from food safety issues, he said. "People shouldn't have a false sense of security that local means safer," Marler said.

Health officials believe the contamination at Chipotle is related to a fresh food product such as lettuce or other produce.

The outbreak probably will not be traced to one sick individual or one instance of cross-contamination of food because the cases are connected with various restaurants, said Marisa D'Angeli, medical epidemiologist with the Washington State Department of Health.

The company is not planning to close any other restaurants in other states because there is no evidence of a link to other locations, company spokesman Chris Arnold said.

Only six restaurants in Washington and Oregon have been connected to the outbreak.

Although the shutdown restaurants represent just 2 percent of the company's 1,931 locations, each restaurant brings in about $2.5 million in revenue a year on average, according to Chipotle.


E. coli in Northwest marks Chipotle's 3rd outbreak this year

1 of 5 Chipotle closed 43 of its restaurants, including this one in Seattle, as a precaution Monday after an E. coli outbreak sickened nearly two dozen people.  Elaine Thompson/STF Show More Show Less

2 of 5 A pedestrian walks past a closed Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore., Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. Chipotle voluntarily closed down 43 of its locations in Washington and in the Portland area as a precaution after an E. coli outbreak linked to six of its restaurants in the two states has sickened nearly two dozen people. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

3 of 5 A sign posted on the door of a Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore. reads "temporarily closed due to a supply chain issue," on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. An E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants in Washington state and Oregon has sickened nearly two dozen people in the third outbreak of food borne illness at the popular chain this year. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

4 of 5 A sign posted on the door of a Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore. reads that the location is "temporarily closed due to a supply chain issue," on Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. An E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle restaurants in Washington state and Oregon has sickened nearly two dozen people in the third outbreak of food borne illness at the popular chain this year. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

5 of 5 Signage hangs from a closed Chipotle restaurant in Portland, Ore., Monday, Nov. 2, 2015. Chipotle voluntarily closed down 43 of its locations in Washington and the Portland area as a precaution after an E. coli outbreak linked to six of its restaurants in the two states has sickened nearly two dozen people. (AP Photo/Don Ryan) Don Ryan/STF Show More Show Less

SEATTLE - Chipotle closed 43 of its Pacific Northwest locations after the chain's third foodborne illness this year sickened about two dozen people - prompting renewed scrutiny of a company that touts its use of fresh ingredients and farm-sourced fare.

Cases of the bacterial illness were traced to six of the casual Mexican food restaurants, but the company voluntarily closed down all of its locations in Washington and the Portland, Ore., area as a precaution as an investigation continues.

Three people in the Portland area and 19 people in western Washington have gotten sick with E. coli as of Friday. Seventeen of them had eaten at a Chipotle restaurant during the past few weeks. Eight people have been hospitalized, but no deaths have been reported.

About a dozen more people were being tested for E. coli on Monday in Washington state, and health officials were aggressively searching for more cases, said Dr. Scott Lindquist, state epidemiologist for communicable diseases for the Washington State Department of Health.

Lindquist does not expect the number of sick people to increase dramatically, and he said they are not positive yet that the outbreak is limited to people who ate at Chipotle restaurants over the past few weeks.

Those sickened in the E. coli outbreak range in age from 11 to 61. Lindquist did not have any detailed information about their medical conditions.

Chipotle has faced other recent foodborne outbreaks. A salmonella outbreak linked to tomatoes sickened dozens of people in Minnesota beginning in August, according to state health officials. In California, health workers said norovirus sickened nearly 100 customers and employees at a Chipotle restaurant in Simi Valley in mid-August.

"Having three problems in a couple of months means that Chipotle is not paying attention to food safety like it should," said Bill Marler, a food safety lawyer who built his reputation with the 1993 E. coli outbreak at Seattle Jack in the Box restaurants.

The common denominator in most foodborne illness outbreaks is poor food safety, Marler said.

People should not assume a company that focuses on local and fresh ingredients - like Chipotle - is going to be immune from food safety issues, he said. "People shouldn't have a false sense of security that local means safer," Marler said.

Health officials believe the contamination at Chipotle is related to a fresh food product such as lettuce or other produce.

The outbreak probably will not be traced to one sick individual or one instance of cross-contamination of food because the cases are connected with various restaurants, said Marisa D'Angeli, medical epidemiologist with the Washington State Department of Health.

The company is not planning to close any other restaurants in other states because there is no evidence of a link to other locations, company spokesman Chris Arnold said.

Only six restaurants in Washington and Oregon have been connected to the outbreak.

Although the shutdown restaurants represent just 2 percent of the company's 1,931 locations, each restaurant brings in about $2.5 million in revenue a year on average, according to Chipotle.