I’m fascinated by reports of Chipotle’s ongoing problems with foodborne illness.
The main interest of the press in these episodes is their effect on Chipotle’s stock prices.
The outbreaks have been linked to a bunch of different pathogens: E. coli O157:H7, E. coli STEC 026, Salmonella, norovirus, and, possibly, hepatitis A. This means they are due to different causes at different outlets.
The food, foods, or individuals responsible for these outbreaks are uncertain, making them hard to know how to prevent.
Hence: conspiracy theories.
The most recent CDC report (December 21) counts 53 cases of E. coli 026 from 9 states, with 20 hospitalizations.
The FDA reports (December 22) that there are 5 more recent cases of illness caused by a different type of E. coli 026 among people eating at Chipotle.
Food Safety News summarizes the previous Chipotle outbreaks.
Seattle: July 2015, 5 people sick from E. coli O157:H7, from unknown food source.
Simi Valley, CA: August 2015, more than 230 sick from norovirus (most likely from an ill worker).
Minnesota: August and September 2015, 64 people sick from Salmonella Newport (tomatoes?).
Boston: December 2015, at least 136 people sick from norov…