Closed Northwestern Chipotle Restaurants Will Start Opening On Wednesday

If you live near in Seattle or Portland and have been pining for a Chipotle burrito since all local restaurants shut down on Halloween due to an E. coli outbreak of undetermined origin, your week and a half of patience has been rewarded. The restaurants are reopening this week.

The company hasn’t specified when each location will open, but they will begin on Wednesday, November 11. Give your favorite location a call if you live in the area and are thinking about heading over. The threat of E. coli illness appears to have passed: all batches of ingredients that were still in the restaurants were tested, as were employees.

If, for example, the illness came from a specific batch of steak or cilantro, the batch may have been used up long before any customers even reported symptoms of illness. E. coli usually incubates in your gut for two to eight days (and sometimes longer) before causing abdominal cramps, bloody diarrhea, and kidney failure in some very young or very old people who become infected.

Seattle-based attorney (and publisher of the excellent site Food Safety News) Bill Marler, who handles food safety cases across the country, has filed two lawsuits so far, and says that he is representing many more customers. “I think [Chipotle’s] corporate leadership needs to step back [and] look at their food safety culture,” Marler told Buzzfeed News last week.

That’s what Chipotle has promised to do in the future: their business depends on it going forward. The company says that it plans to test batches of ingredients proactively in the future, as well as improving their food safety procedures and performing food safety audits nationwide.

Multistate Outbreak of Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O26 Infections Linked to Chipotle Mexican Grill in Washington and Oregon [CDC]

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