A Chipotle in central Ohio is under scrutiny for a possible food poisoning outbreak. As of July 31, 518 people have called or emailed the health department in Delaware County to report illnesses they developed after eating at the restaurant in Powell. Officials have interviewed over 200 sick individuals, but the exact cause of illness has not been identified.
The health department has also taken stool samples from several people who fell ill after eating at the Chipotle, located at 9733 Sawmill Parkway. These will be tested for salmonella, shigella, E. coli, and norovirus. Food samples from the outpost have also been sent away to undergo testing for the aforementioned in addition to Bacillus cereus and Clostridium perfringens bacteria, according to a statement on the Delaware General Health District’s Twitter.
Although there are hundreds of reported sicknesses, only one lawsuit has been filed to date. According to The Columbus Dispatch, Filip Szyller claims to have experienced diarrhea, severe abdominal pain, nausea, headaches, and hot and cold flashes after eating at the chain. He is seeking $25,000 in damages.
The health department’s first warning of a possible outbreak came on July 31 after an initial 368 people called to report they’d fallen ill after eating at Chipotle. The next day, the location closed for investigation. It reopened July 2 after the food inspection team gave the go-ahead.
“Our protocols identified a handful of illness reports at one restaurant in Powell, OH on Monday,” a Chipotle spokesperson told The Daily Meal in an email. “We acted quickly and closed this single restaurant out of an abundance of caution. We worked with the local health officials to reopen this restaurant the following day, Tuesday.”
The statement continues, “The health and safety of our customers and employees is our number one priority. We have been working with local officials to investigate and will continue to do so. We want to talk to customers who believe they were affected by this incident and ask them to contact us directly at Talk To Us.”
Most people know this isn’t the first time Chipotle has been blamed for a food poisoning outbreak. Back in 2015, the chain was deemed responsible for a massive E. coli outbreak. Alas, harmful pathogens can live just about everywhere — even at the grocery store. Trader Joe’s, Kroger, and Walgreens recently recalled more than two dozen products that may have been contaminated with a toxic parasite called cyclospora. Thankfully there are ways to prevent the spread of infection, and some steps are as easy as washing your hands.