ATLANTA — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is investigating another, more recent E. coli outbreak linked to Chipotle Mexican Grill. It is not known if the latest wave of infections is related to the previously reported outbreak that sickened 53 consumers in nine states between mid-October and early November.
Concerning the recent outbreak, which has a different, rare DNA fingerprint than that of the previous cases, five ill people have been identified in Kansas, North Dakota and Oklahoma. The illnesses began on dates ranging from Nov. 18 to Nov. 26. All five individuals reported eating at the burrito chain the week before illness started.
Since the earlier incident, Denver-based Chipotle has pledged to become an industry leader in food safety with aggressive actions under way to prevent future outbreaks. Health officials have been unable to trace the E. coli cases to a particular ingredient. The investigation remains ongoing, the C.D.C. said.“We have indicated before that we expected that we may see additional cases stemming from this, and C.D.C. is now reporting some additional cases,” Chipotle said in a statement. “Since this issue began, we have completed a comprehensive reassessment of our food safety programs with an eye to finding best practices for each of the ingredients we use. We are now in the process of implementing those programs, including high resolution testing of ingredients, end-of-shelf-life testing of ingredients, continuous improvement in the supply system based on testing data and enhanced food safety training for all of our restaurant teams. With all of these programs in place, we are confident that we can achieve a level of food safety risk that is near zero.”