The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released information Monday saying the E. coli infections tied to the Chipotle franchise may have come to an end.
Of the 55 cases of the Chipotle E. coli infection, 21 people were hospitalized from 11 different states.
Tampa Chipotle employee, Jovonee King, said she was shocked when she first found out about the E-coli outbreak.
“My manager ensures that the team is following the standards that the company puts into place and to hear about other Chipotle establishments not complying with regulations put me at a disbelief,” King said.
According to the CDC, the last illness was reported in December. Everyone who suffered the illness said they received it from consuming food purchased at Chipotle, although they were not able to determine exactly which food product made them ill.
Ashley Williams, local Chipotle employee, said they always follow safety standards.
“We change our sanitizing buckets every hour. Everything we use has to be sanitized along with washing our hands frequently,” Williams said.
CDC.gov also stated there was a second, smaller set of outbreaks that were not linked to the bacteria that was tested from the first set of outbreaks. Both outbreaks were related to the same food from the Chipotle restaurants.
The CDC also reported that foods that are served mixed or cooked together makes it difficult for epidemiologic studies to identify what specific ingredients are contaminated.
The public health investigators used the PulseNet system, a system that compares DNA fingerprints of bacteria to identify unrecognized diseases and determines what illnesses were connected to the outbreaks. Whole genome sequencing was used as well to identify the E. coli bacteria in the Chipotle food.
“Our business has slowed down a lot, but no one has been affected directly. Due to our decline in customer consumption, a lot of our labor got cut down so less hours have been given to our crew,” Williams said.
Williams stated she still believes Chipotle is the healthier side of fast food. She also mentioned that their Chipotle establishment will have specials going on in order to win their customers back.