Powell, Ohio, USA: Chipotle closed a restaurant in Powell, Ohio, on Monday following reports of customers getting sick after eating there, the company said. More than 170 people said they fell ill after eating at an Ohio Chipotle that is thought to be at the center of an illness outbreak, according to a website that tracks foodborne illnesses. People reported symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, and fever to the website.
Three reports were made to the website on July 29 and July 30, indicating that at least nine customers fell sick after eating there. By Tuesday morning, the number of reports to the site grew to 105, citing 170 people sick, according to Patrick Quade, the founder of iwaspoisoned.com.
“Our protocols identified a handful of illness reports at one restaurant in Powell, Ohio,” Chipotle said in a statement. “We acted quickly and closed this single restaurant out of an abundance of caution and we are working with the local health officials to reopen this restaurant as soon as possible.”
“We take all claims of food safety very seriously and we are currently looking into a few reports of illness at our Powell, Ohio restaurant,” Chipotle spokeswoman Laurie Schalow said.
Chipotle voluntarily closed the Ohio restaurant Monday for deep cleaning and removal of all exposed foods and single-use equipment, the company said
Chipotle said the restaurant would reopen on Tuesday, pending approval from the local health department.
The local health department said that it received illness reports from seven customers on Sunday and Monday and that it sent officials to the Chipotle restaurant on Monday for an inspection only to find the restaurant closed.
Chipotle had two to five staff members call off work while citing illness on Sunday and Monday, the company told health officials.
Chipotle (CMG) shares fell 7.4 percent after the company shut Ohio restaurant following reports of illness. $CMG
The local health department said it received illness reports from seven customers on Sunday and Monday. In response, health officials arrived at the Chipotle restaurant on Monday for an inspection and found the restaurant closed.
Health officials then discussed the illness complaints with the company and discovered that Chipotle had also received four to five illness complaints from customers. Chipotle management said it was unable to get in touch with the health department to report the illnesses.
Records show local health officials inspected the Powell Chipotle on July 26, and found violations related to food not being held at proper temperatures.
Specifically, lettuce was not properly cooled and beans were not held at a warm enough temperature.
“A follow up will occur in roughly 3 weeks due to cooling of lettuce,” inspection records stated.
Chipotle was forced to close a restaurant in Virginia for two days last year after customers who ate there contracted norovirus, an illness that causes vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, and other symptoms. More than 130 people reported getting sick after eating at the restaurant.
Norovirus is different from E. coli, the bacteria that led to a widespread outbreak at Chipotle restaurants in 14 states three years ago.