FDA Investigates Multistate Outbreak of E. coli O26 Infections Linked to Chipotle Mexican Grill Restaurants
What is the Problem and What is Being Done About It?What are the Symptoms of E. coli O26?Who is at Risk?What Do Consumers Need To Do?Who Should be Contacted?Additional Information
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and state and local officials are investigating an outbreak of E. coli infections.
Update: December 4, 2015
Three additional states have reported people infected with the outbreak strain of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O26 (STEC O26) since the last update, Illinois, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.Fifty-two people infected with the outbreak strain of STEC O26 have now been reported from a total of nine states: California (3), Illinois (1), Maryland (1), Minnesota (2), New York (1), Ohio (3), Oregon (13), Pennsylvania (1), and Washington (27).The epidemiologic evidence available at this time suggests that a common meal item or ingredient served at Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants in several states is a likely source of this outbreak.The investigation is still ongoing to determine what specific food is linked to illness.
What is the Problem and What is Being Done About It?
The FDA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) along with state and local officials are investigating an outbreak ofE. coli O26 infections that have been linked to food served at Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants in several states.
As of December 4, 2015, the CDC reports a total of 52 people infected with the outbreak strain of STEC O26 from a total of nine states: California (3), Illinois (1), Maryland (1), Minnesota (2), New York (1), Ohio (3), Oregon (13), Pennsylvania (1), and Washington (27). There have been 20 reported hospitalizations. There have been no reports of hemolytic uremic syndrome (HUS) and no deaths. Of the three most recent illnesses reported in November, only one ill person, whose illness started on November 10, reported eating at Chipotle Mexican Grill in the week before their illness began.
Investigators are also using whole genome sequencing, an advanced laboratory technique, to get more information about the DNA fingerprint of the STEC O26 bacteria causing illness. To date, whole genome sequencing has been performed on STEC O26 isolates from 21 ill people from California (2), Minnesota (2), New York (1), and Washington (16). All 21 isolates were highly related genetically to one another. This provides additional evidence that illnesses outside the Pacific Northwest, could be related to the illnesses in Washington .
Chipotle Mexican Grill has reopened all of its restaurants in Washington and Oregon that had been closed in response to the investigation. Chipotle Mexican Grill worked in close consultation and collaboration with health officials throughout the investigation to determine whether it was appropriate to reopen these restaurants. Chipotle reports taking the following actions, among others, prior to opening:
Confirming that all microbial testing performed by the company did not yield E. coli (more than 2,500 tests of Chipotle's food, restaurant surfaces, and equipment all showed no E. coli)Confirming that no employees in these restaurants were sickened from this incidentExpanded testing of fresh produce, raw meat, and dairy items prior to restocking restaurantsImplementing additional safety procedures, and audits, in all of its 2,000 restaurants to ensure that robust food safety standards are in placeWorking closely with federal, state, and local government agencies to ensure that robust food safety standards are in placeReplacing all ingredients in the closed restaurantsConducted additional deep cleaning and sanitization in all of its closed restaurants (will conduct deep cleaning and sanitization additionally in all restaurants nationwide)
The FDA continues to work with Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants as well as federal, state and local agencies to gather information about the supply chain(s). The FDA will continue to provide updates on the investigation as they become available.