As of Tuesday night, 99 people were reported sick after eating at a Chipotle restaurant in Simi Valley, CA last week. Ventura County Public Health tells Food Safety News that 82 customers and 17 employees were sickened on Aug. 18 and 19. A number of people went to the ER, but it’s unknown if anyone was hospitalized. After customers reported the illnesses to Chipotle, the “fast casual” restaurant notified health department officials and closed on Friday afternoon to clean and bring in new food before reopening on Saturday for lunch. It’s unclear what made the customers ill, but the health department is collecting samples to test. Public health officer Dr. Robert Levin, said the agency is “optimistic that we will find the culprit.” An inspection of the Chipotle location posted Monday referenced violations for:
- The premises and/or floors, walls, or ceiling are in an unsanitary condition.
- Equipment or utensils are not clean, fully operative and in good repair.
- Flying insects were observed within the food facility.
- Food handlers employed at this facility do not possess a valid food handler card and/or records documenting that food employees possess a valid food handler card are not maintained by the food facility for review as required.
- Equipment is connected directly to the sewer.
- Wall and/or ceiling surfaces are deteriorated and/or damaged.
- The restroom is unclean and in disrepair.
A spokesman for the restaurant, Chris Arnold, said the well-being of customers was the company’s highest priority: “When we were contacted by customers who reported feeling poorly after visiting our restaurant in Simi Valley, we immediately began a review of the incident and have taken all of the necessary steps to ensure that it is safe to eat there.” (To sign up for a free subscription to Food Safety News, click here.)