E. Coli Outbreak at Chipotle

Maddi Pitcairn

Breaking news! Chipotle is serving up more than just a side of chips. They are serving up a side of sickness as well. Recently, 80 students in the Boston area including eight members from the Boston College Basketball team got sick right after eating Chipotle. There were no immediately known facts saying if the illnesses was part of a national outbreak of E. coli. All investigators knew was that several students came to the school’s Health Services center and the “common factor” was that all had eaten at the Chipotle restaurant in the Cleveland Circle neighborhood near the BC campus.

E. coli, also knoIMG_2431wn as Escherichia, is a Gram-negative,facultatively aerobic, rod-shaped bacterium of the genus Escherichia that is commonly found in the lower intestine of warm-blooded organisms. The scary part of this bacterial infection is that they can reproduce within 20 minutes. Now that does not seem like a long time, but for an infection in a person’s intestines, that is almost instantaneous. Think about it, by the time a person in Ipswich drives to the nearest Chipotle, the bacteria in their system would have basically doubled by the time they got there. Just in this month alone, E. coli has spread to over three states. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said last week that 52 people in nine states — Illinois, Maryland, Pennsylvania, California, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Oregon and Washington — have become ill in the E. coli outbreak.

Now some Chipotle cases are not linked directly to the E. coli disease rapidly spreading throughout the United States. Some people are just becoming ill. However, this is a major health concern for the country. The Chipotle E. coli outbreak has caused a lot of suspicion and ultimately forced the single restaurant in Boston to close until further investigation. Some causes of the dreadful E coli disease are working around livestock, consuming unpasteurized dairy products, eating undercooked meat and drinking impure water. After conducting research on the topic, investigators are still unsure of the exact cause of sickness from these Chipotle restaurants. An educated guess based on the list of most common reasons a person might get E coli, might be that Chipotle may be using undercooked meats. The fast paced buffet lines at chipotle demand for fast production of food and in the hecticness of it all some employees may be rushing the time it takes to cook the meat.

A survey was conducted at Ipswich High School that asked students if they would eat at Chipotle even after this disease broke out. Surprisingly, 74% of students asked said that they would not eat at a Chipotle in the near future. This once beloved restaurant is now becoming just a delicious memory. One student and once Chipotle lover, Renee DiNocco, shared her opinion on this controversial question. She said “I love Chipotle probably more than any girl out there, but even I don’t want to mess with E. coli or the chance of getting sick”. This just goes to show how much of an impact the media or an outbreak of E. coli can have on a person’s decisions of where they will eat. However, the question still remains…even after all of this would you eat at Chipotle again?