Tags: students | ill | Chipotle | restaurant | Boston

80 Boston College Students Fall Ill After Eating at Chipotle's

Image: 80 Boston College Students Fall Ill After Eating at Chipotle's
(Copyright AP)

Tuesday, 08 Dec 2015 05:33 PM


Boston College said 80 students became sick after eating at a Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG.N) restaurant this weekend, but the company said the illnesses appear unrelated to an E. coli outbreak that has battered the popular burrito chain's sales and reputation.

Chipotle has temporarily closed the Cleveland Circle restaurant where the Boston College students reported eating.

The students are being tested for both E. coli and norovirus, a highly contagious pathogen that also can cause severe vomiting and diarrhea, but test results are not expected for at least two days, a university spokesman said.

Chipotle on Tuesday said it would not shutter any other outlets in the Boston area.

"There are no reports of illness from any other restaurants, and the pattern here looks like norovirus isolated to one restaurant," spokesman Chris Arnold told Reuters on Tuesday.

Chipotle has been under a microscope since Oct. 31, when it was first linked to an E. coli outbreak that has sickened 52 people in nine states.

That outbreak, the company's third food safety incident since August, has raised concern about potential damage to the fast-growing brand that has won a loyal following for its food made with fresh produce, meats raised without antibiotics and ingredients that are free of genetically modified organisms, or GMOs.

Norovirus is the most common cause of foodborne-disease outbreaks in the United States. It causes as many as 21 million illnesses annually, often in places such as hospitals, cruise ships and universities where people eat and live in close quarters. Norovirus can be contracted from an infected person or from contaminated food, water or surfaces.

Norovirus can persist in an environment for up to six weeks, said Benjamin Chapman, an associate professor and food safety specialist at North Carolina State University.

"Every time you have a vomit event, you're looking at billions of (virus) particles, and it takes only a few to make you sick," said Chapman, who said it was too early to say whether the students got norovirus at Chipotle.

Stephen Anderson, an analyst at investment bank and wealth manager Maxim Group, said the Boston illnesses are a "near-term negative reinforcement" when viewed along with the E. coli outbreak and other health-related issues Chipotle has dealt with since the summer.

© 2017 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

   
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Boston College said 80 students became sick after eating at a Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG.N) restaurant this weekend, but the company said the illnesses appear unrelated to an E. coli outbreak that has battered the popular burrito chain's sales and reputation. Chipotle has...
students, ill, Chipotle, restaurant, Boston
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2015-33-08
Tuesday, 08 Dec 2015 05:33 PM
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