Business Insider first reported the illnesses, after iwaspoisoned.com alerted the news organization of eight reports from people who got sick after they and their families ate at the same restaurant. Chipotle told BI that the chain was already aware of the illness and taking steps to address it. Although they have closed the store implicated, Chipotle plans to sanitize and reopen it later today.
This may seem like scary news, given that a string of foodborne illness came out of the chain in 2015, but don't let it make you swear off burrito bowls and Chipotle guac forever. Norovirus is an extremely common and contagious virus that you can get from an infected person, from contaminated food and water, from from touching contaminated surfaces, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
You've likely had norovirus before, but just didn't know that's what it was called. It causes inflamed stomach and intestines that leads to nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting — and can still be contagious two weeks after a person stopped feeling sick.
Since it spreads so easily, it's entirely possible that a single employee who either came into work even though they didn't feel well or didn't wash their hands originated the outbreak. Unless it comes out that Chipotle requires employees to come to work sick or has a lackluster hand washing policy, then it feels a little drastic to give up Chipotle for good.
If you're still worried because of the chain's previous food poisoning outbreaks, then you should obviously do whatever feels safest for you. But consider the fact that many chain restaurants have multiple instances of food poisoning over the years — we just don't hear about them as often. McDonald's, for example, has 22 reports of food poisoning on iwaspoisoned.com within the last seven days. And there was that one time that 100 people got food poisoning while at a conference on food safety.
We'll let you make up your mind about whether or not you ever want to eat at Chipotle again — investors are certainly wary — but for now, we're not ready to give up our chips and guac.
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