A new and concerning twist to the mysterious Chipotle outbreak in Powell. A family of three, plus another diner, added their names to a growing list of people claiming the Mexican restaurant made them sick.
These cases, however, involve two other Chipotle locations in Delaware County.
NBC Investigator Tom Sussi said the Delaware General Health District is aware of the complaints and has been in touch with the diners and restaurants. What health inspectors don’t know is if they’re isolated cases or connected to this outbreak, in which more than 700 people since July 29 have contacted the health department.
A family of three said they became ill after eating at Chipotle Mexican Grill, 8695 Owenfield Drive, Powell, on July 28. According to the report, they all ate a chicken burrito with brown rice, sauteed peppers and onions, tomato salsa, corn salsa and sour cream.
About 12 hours later, they said they suffered vomiting, diarrhea and nausea.
On August 1, inspectors uncovered four critical violations at the business, including a box of raw chicken “very close to ready to eat items.”
Another diner said they became ill after eating at Chipotle Mexican Grill, 1710 Columbus Pike, Delaware, on August 1. They said they ate a chicken bowl with white rice, mild salsa, sour cream, cheese, lettuce and guacamole.
During an inspection on August 2, the health department found four critical violations at the business.
Houston Attorney Ron Simon told Sussi his firm has represented more than 100 people over the past three years in lawsuits against Chipotle Mexican Grill. Today, Simon said his office filed a second lawsuit on behalf of sick diners.
“I think it’s possible they’re unrelated but I also think, sometimes with these fast food restaurants employees are moving back and forth between different restaurants to cover shifts, and that could be an example,” said Simon.
To date, the health department said it’s delivered 20 stool samples, collected from sick diners, plus 10 leftover food samples, to the Ohio Department of Health to be tested. Last Friday, a batch of stool samples came back negative for the following pathogens known to cause food poisoning: Salmonella, Shigella, E.coli and Norovirus. The Delaware General Health District said those samples will now be tested for other pathogens.
“99 percent of the problem is simple. It’s usually an employee that comes to work sick that is going to the bathroom and not washing their hands and therefore touching numerous meals throughout the day,” said Simon
The Delaware General Health District said it could have more stool and food lab results back this week. “I think you’re going to start seeing positive results here in the next two or three days,” said Simon. “We know it’s a bacteria or virus.”