April 4, 2020

Inspections of Chipotle at Center of Ohio Outbreak Reveal Problems; Lawsuit Filed

More than 500 people are reportedly ill after eating at a Chipotle restaurant at 9733 Sawmill Parkway in Powell, Ohio according to a notice posted on the Delaware General Health District’s Twitter page. Officials have  received 95 emails and 423 calls from possible outbreak patients. All reported nausea, diarrhea, and fever. One lawsuit has been filed.

Chipotle Outbreak Restaurant Inspection

The pathogen responsible for this outbreak has not yet been identified. The health department is testing fecal samples for Salmonella, Shigella, E. coli, and norovirus. In addition, food samples are being tested for Clostridium perfringens and Bacillus cereus. All of these pathogens can cause these symptoms. Chipotle was the site of one of the largest multistate food poisoning outbreaks in 2015.

The Delaware General Health District posts restaurant inspection results. That Chipotle restaurant has been inspected several times since the outbreak was first identified last week.

In an inspection on July 26, 2018, inspectors found two critical violations. TCS (temperature controlled substances) foods were not cooled using correct time and temperature parameters. More specifically, in house washed and cut lettuce was held at 53°F. TCS foods should be rapidly cooled within two hours to 70°F, and within six hours to 41°F or less. Inspectors also found that back up service pinto beans and TOS pinto & black beans were held at 117 to 130°F. Those foods should be held at 135°F or above or pathogens can grow.

In addition, the health department received a complaint on July 23, 2018 that lettuce fell onto the prep area, and the employee put that lettuce into the customer’s food. The customer requested that the bowl be remade, and it was.

Chipotle closed that store after receiving some reports of illness. An inspection on July 30, 2018 revealed that two to five staff members did not work because they were sick due to “excluding symptoms” on July 29, 2018 and July 30 2018. The restaurant was closed for deep cleaning and sanitizing. Excluding symptoms usually mean vomiting, diarrhea, or nausea.

Finally, during a follow up inspection on July 31, 2018, inspectors again found that TCS foods were not being held at the proper temperature. Pinto beans, within a dry digital steam well were held at 133°F.

If you ate at the Chipotle restaurant in Powell, Ohio and have been ill with the symptoms of nausea, diarrhea, and fever, see your doctor. You may be part of this outbreak.

 

 

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