CDC Says Chipotle-linked E. Coli Outbreak is Over


The CDC announced on Monday that Chipotle Mexican Grill’s E. coli outbreak is over.

Two separate outbreaks of the bacteria were investigated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service and public health officials in several states.

Chipotle stock was up 4 percent on the news.

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Chipotle, under scrutiny for months over outbreaks of foodborne illness linked to its restaurants across several U.S. states, may have rattled investors, but teen and young adult customers were not deterred from the fast casual chain, according to the NPD Group, which continually tracks consumer’s awareness about food safety outbreaks.

“Young adults represent the largest share of Chipotle’s overall traffic,” Bonnie Riggs, NPD Group’s restaurant industry analyst, said in a statement. “Their willingness to overlook any food safety concerns to eat at Chipotle could be a result of unabashed loyalty or lack of awareness.”

Consumers that did not remain loyal to the fast casual restaurant were won over by Chick-fil-A, Wendy’s, Burger King and McDonald’s.

“What our research tells us is that Chipotle has a strong loyal base from which to build its business back up relatively quickly,” says Riggs. “To win back the trust of their former customers, Chipotle will need to continually communicate all of the ways in which they are preventing any future outbreaks and prove to them that they able to deliver on their ‘food with integrity’ promise.”

The fast casual chain will be briefly closing all its stores on Feb. 8th.

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SOURCE: CNBC, Sarah Whitten