Panic at Chipotle: More stores close as officials scramble to stop E. coli outbreak

Panic at Chipotle: More stores close as officials scramble to stop E. coli outbreak

Chipotle CEO issues an apology as dozens get sick after visiting the fast food chain.

It’s only getting worse for popular burrito chain Chipotle as reports of E. coli sickening dozens of people have prompted the CEO to apologize and more stores to shut down.

Another Chipotle restaurant in Seattle was shut down by the local health department over “repeated food safety violations” as the company remains embroiled in the worst health epidemic of its short history — and the worst seen in any restaurant chain in a very long time, according to an ABC News report.

Just hours before the Seattle restaurant was closed, CEO Steven Ells publicly apologized for the multi-state E. coli outbreak, which has sickened 52 people so far between mid-October and mid-November based on information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as noted in the report.

In response, Chipotle has closed 43 locations in Washington state and Oregon, and Ells said on “The Today Show” that he was doing everything he could to get a handle on the problem. He said the company has instituted new food safety practices and additional testing that would place the chain well ahead of industry norms.

Ells said the Seattle location was closed because of “an issue around hot holding temperatures,” a spokesman was quoted as saying in the report. Health officials say that Chipotle has been holding meat at temperatures much too low, resulting in red violations at that location and its eventual closure.

Despite all this, authorities still haven’t figured out what caused the E. coli outbreak. The company did thousands of tests on ingredients and surfaces with no luck, Ells said according to the report.

And that’s not all the company has been forced to deal with. This week, 141 students at Boston College got sick with norovirus that was believed to have originated from a local Chipotle restaurant, which was quickly shuttered as the restaurant was scrubbed and sanitized.

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