Chipotle Reopening Restaurant Linked To Customer Illnesses

After voluntarily closing a restaurant in Sterling, Virginia, after multiple customers reported falling ill, Chipotle said it plans to reopen the burrito spot on Tuesday.

Eight customers who ate at the location between July 14 and 15 filed reports on the food safety crowdsourcing website, indicating they suffered symptoms like diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

According to the reports, at least two customers have been hospitalized. 

Chipotle temporarily closed the restaurant in Sterling on Monday and is working with local health department officials to determine the cause of the illnesses, which had symptoms “consistent with norovirus,” the company told HuffPost on Tuesday. 

Norovirus is a highly contagious virus that typically spreads when infected people fail to wash their hands and then touch food, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2015, 141 Boston College students ― roughly 1 percent of the school’s student body ― showed symptoms of norovirus after eating at a Chipotle restaurant.

“Norovirus does not come from our food supply, and it is safe to eat at Chipotle,” Jim Marsden, Chipotle’s executive director of food safety, said in an emailed statement. “We plan to reopen the restaurant today.”

“We take every report of illness seriously,” Marsden added. “In accordance with our established protocols, our team is working to ensure the safety of our customers and employees, including voluntarily closing the restaurant yesterday to conduct a complete sanitization.”

Norovirus is unrelated to E. coli, which sickened 55 Chipotle customers across 11 states in late 2015 and early 2016, forcing the popular fast-casual chain to revamp its food sourcing and preparation methods in a bid to win back customers.

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