A Chipotle restaurant in Loudon County, Virginia temporarily closed its doors on July 17 due to multiple reports that several of its customers had become severely ill after eating there. The closure sent the company’s stock price down more than six percent. The reports stated that the customers experienced repeated symptoms of diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, and fever. Several of the afflicted customers claim that they were diagnosed with norovirus when they visited their doctors. This latest norovirus outbreak has renewed food safety concerns tied to Chipotle, as the company suffered a similar rash of food poisoning events nationwide in 2015.
Norovirus Symptoms and Prevalence
Norovirus is the leading cause of illness from contaminated food in the United States, with about 50% of all food-borne illness being caused by norovirus. Foods that are commonly involved in outbreaks of the illness are leafy greens, fresh fruits, and shellfish, but any food that is served raw or handled after being cooked can be contaminated. The virus can easily contaminate food because it is very tiny and infective. It only takes a very small amount of virus particles (as few as 18) to make someone sick. Food can get contaminated with norovirus several ways, including when:
- Infected people who have stool or vomit on their hands touch the food,
- It is placed on counters or surfaces that have infectious stool or vomit on them, or
- Tiny drops of vomit from an infected person spray through the air and land on the food.
Symptoms of norovirus included diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, stomach pain, fever, headache, body ache, and dehydration. A person affected by it normally develops these symptoms 12-48 hours after being exposed to it, and symptoms normally dissipate within one to three days.
Chipotle No Stranger to Food Poisoning Issues
This is not the first time that the popular fast-casual dining giant has been plagued with food poisoning allegations. In 2015, the company suffered a publicity and stock nightmare after hundreds of outbreaks of E. Coli, salmonella, and norovirus were reported within a six-month period across the United States. This outbreak led the chain to voluntarily close 43 locations in Washington and Oregon so that health officials could investigate the E. coli outbreaks there. The public reaction to the outbreaks was so negative that the company closed every location in the country for a four-hour food safety meeting on February 8, 2016, and assured their customers that they had the problem under control. Although it appears that Chipotle has, for the most part, updated its food handling procedures to avoid any repeated outbreaks, this latest incident has put the company back on the ropes. Nevertheless, Chipotle’s executive director of food safety said in a statement that the company was working with the health department to address the incident, but that it did not seem to be company-caused.
Contact an Atlanta Personal Injury Attorney Today for a Free Consultation
If you have been sickened by food poisoning at Chipotle or any other restaurant, you may be able to recover the costs of your injuries if the food poisoning was the result of the restaurant’s negligence. Contact the attorneys at Slappey & Sadd for a free consultation to discuss your case by calling 404.255.6677. We serve the entire state of Georgia, including the following locations: Fulton County, DeKalb County, and Cobb County.