What Caused the Massive Chipotle Food Poisoning Outbreak?
Chipotle’s most recent food-borne illness outbreak has been the biggest in the restaurant chain’s history with more than 600 people sickened after dining at a lone outpost in Powell, Ohio. According to a report on Thrillist.com, the restaurant chain’s latest brush with food poisoning garnered headlines and alarm because the cause of the outbreak was initially a mystery.
Bacteria Found in Consumers’ Systems
However, that mystery has now been solved after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) tested stool samples from a number of infected customers. The culprit is clostridium perfringens, a bacterium that flourishes when food is left at an unsafe temperature. The food samples tested for the pathogen turned out negative, but they were found in the stool samples because this particular bacterium can grow in the intestinal tract even after the contaminated food is consumed. This is one of the most common forms of food poisoning.
Chipotle temporarily closed and sanitized the affected restaurant after news of the outbreak emerged. The Denver-based burrito chain has struggled to win back the trust of customers after a string of highly-publicized food-borne illness outbreaks in 2015 and 2016 tarnished its reputation. It remains to be seen if Chipotle can recover from this particular outbreak.
Liability in Food Poisoning Cases
Restaurants, retail establishments and food producers have a responsibility and a legal obligation to produce food that is safe for consumption. For restaurants, this means storing foods a the right temperatures and making sure that all employees follow safety procedures such as washing their hands after using the restroom and staying away from work when they are sick.
If you have been sickened after eating at a restaurant, it is important that you take a number of steps to protect your legal rights. First, make sure you get medical attention, treatment and care. It is important to diagnose what pathogen has caused your illness so you get the right kind of treatment. Make sure you save your receipt from the restaurant purchase, which would help establish that you bought and consumed the food on the said day and time.
Report your illness to the local health care agency, which usually keeps track of such food-borne illnesses. Contact an experienced food poisoning lawyer who will help you receive compensation for losses such as medical expenses, lost income, hospitalization and pain and suffering.