Steve Ells, the CEO and founder of Chipotle Mexican Grill, apologized Thursday to customers sickened in the restaurant chain's second illness outbreak in as many months.
Some 141 Boston College students are sick with a norovirus after a group of them ate at a Chipotle in Brighton over the weekend, The Associated Press reported,
though the school noted that 12 of those sickened did not eat at the restaurant.
The norovirus is just the latest food scare for Chipotle on the heels of an E. coli outbreak that reportedly sickened at least 52 people in nine states last month, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
In an interview with Matt Lauer on "Today" Thursday
, Ells apologized to those sickened and vowed to institute more stringent food safety procedures.
"It's a really tough time,'' Ells said. "I have to say I'm sorry for the people that got sick. They're having a tough time. I feel terrible about that, and we're doing a lot to rectify this and make sure it doesn't happen again."
The norovirus can be transmitted through contaminated food or water, or by touching contaminated surfaces, according to the CDC. Symptoms include stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, and vomiting. Health officials believe a sick employee may have contributed to the outbreak, according to the AP.
Though its not clear yet what menu items are responsible for the E. coli outbreak, the illness causes diarrhea and abdominal cramps and, if left untreated, can lead to a type of kidney failure, according to the CDC.
Ells said that the E. coli outbreak has forced the company to review how its ingredients are being handled.
"If there is a silver lining in this is we looked at every single ingredient we use," he told The Boston Globe
. "It has caused us to put into place practices . . . that will put us 10 to 15 years ahead of the industry norm. They are so far above the industry norm, that we will be safest place to eat."
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