A sigh of relief resounded around the Northwest on Tuesday when Chipotle announced it will reopen its recently closed Seattle and Portland locations. The culprit of the shutdowns is still at large.
The Mexican food chain closed 43 of its restaurants after an E. Coli outbreak that infected 42 people — 27 in Washington and 15 in Oregon. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 14 of those who fell ill were hospitalized and had all recently dined at Chipotle.
After more than 900 tests on 25 samples, however, the restaurant announced that the source of the outbreak is still unknown. In the meantime, Chipotle has replaced all of its ingredients in those suspect restaurants and stated that it would improve its food safety procedures.
Usually, when hearing about E. Coli, many associate the bacteria with contaminated meat. HealthGrove looked at the multistate E.Coli outbreaks and ranked the most common contaminated foods. In fact, as the visualization below shows, it seems that vegetarians aren’t exempt from worry.
With double the amount of outbreaks than beef in recent years, vegetables are more suspect than many are led to believe. With 19 E.Coli outbreaks recorded in the past five years, vegetables are the main food type to blame. The most recent case was in 2014, when 19 people from six different states fell ill from E. Coli strains in raw clover sprouts.
Chipotle has yet to find the contaminated product, and according to the numbers, their lettuce and other vegetables are likely culprits. But considering their burritos are so stuffed with every ingredient under the sun they equal the size of small children, it’s no wonder that the food in question is hard to find.