Chipotle reopened some of its chains out of the 43 stores it previously closed in the aftermath of the E. coli outbreak. Chipotle founder and co-CEO Steve Ells promised to make the brand become the industry leader in food safety.
"There is no evidence of E. coli exposures after the period of mid-October to early-November and no new illnesses have occurred since then. This includes the original cases in Washington and Oregon, as well as those later reported in California, Ohio, New York, Minnesota, Illinois, and Maryland," Chipotle said in an official announcement on Dec. 10.
E. coli bacteria live in the intestines of people and animals, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. While most of E. coli are harmless and are in fact essential part of a healthy human intestinal tract, there are those who bring illness such as diarrhea.
Infectious E. coli can be transmitted through contaminated water or food. This means that the victim had actually swallowed tiny amounts of human or animal feces. This disgusting scenario happens when the victim eats food prepared by people who did not wash their hands well after using the toilet. The bacteria are also transmitted by consumption of contaminated food and water and unpasteurized milk.
Chipotle started rolling out its food safety program according to the announcement. "The enhanced food safety program is the product of a comprehensive reassessment of our food safety practices conducted with IEH Laboratories that included a farm-to-fork assessment of each ingredient we use with an eye toward establishing the highest standards for safety," the company further said.
The Chipotle founder and co-CEO promised to make the restaurant the safest place to eat. He apologized for the people who got sick. "They are having a tough time and I feel terrible about that. We're doing a lot to rectify this and to make sure this doesn't happen again," Ells said via the Daily News.
Seven more people infected with E. coli linked to Chipotle were reported from California, Illinois, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington, according to the update from U.S. Food and Drug Administration dated Dec. 4. Two of these reported infections started in October and five started in November 2015, the FDA said. As of Dec. 2, 20 ill people were hospitalized. Fortunately, there were no reports of kidney failure and deaths. Though the outbreak was widely associated with Chipotle restaurant chain, the FDA clarified that investigation is still ongoing to determine what specific food is linked to the outbreak.