- Hollis Johnson
- Public health officials are investigating reports of illnesses tied to a Los Angeles Chipotle restaurant.
- Chipotle said that it was aware of illness reports tied to the Pico Boulevard location but that it had not heard from any customers directly.
- Several people who said they recently ate at the Pico Boulevard Chipotle reported symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea to the website iwaspoisoned.com.
Public health officials are investigating a possible illness outbreak tied to a Los Angeles Chipotle restaurant.
In an email to Business Insider, the Los Angeles Health Department’s Acute Communicable Disease Control unit, which investigates contagious illnesses and diseases, said the agency was “aware of reports of illness and is investigating.”
The restaurant under investigation is at 4550 W. Pico Blvd. The health department did not immediately respond to questions about the nature or scope of the possible outbreak.
Chipotle said that it was aware of illness reports tied to that location but that it had not heard from any customers directly.
“We take any report of illness very seriously,” said Chris Arnold, a Chipotle spokesman. “We are aware of three reports (two of which appear to be the same) on a user-generated reporting site, but there is no clinical validation associated with those reports, and we have not been contacted by customers directly to substantiate these claims.”
He added: “As a precautionary measure, we have implemented heightened sanitization measures at this restaurant, which we do as a matter of policy if ever we receive reports of illness (even if they are not substantiated).”
Several people who said they recently ate at the Pico Boulevard Chipotle reported symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and nausea to the website iwaspoisoned.com, which allows people to anonymously report suspected foodborne illnesses.
In total, five reports on the website indicate at least seven customers fell sick after eating there around December 13.
“My whole family and I ate at Chipotle two days before we started experiencing stomach pains and nausea,” one person wrote. “It was constant vomiting every two hours and weakness. We all had burrito bowls with meat, beans, rice, and guac. The symptoms lasted for two days now. We’re starting to feel better, but it was a very uncomfortable experience and we won’t be going to Chipotle anymore after this.”
Another customer said: “Ate there on Wednesday and symptoms started late the next day with nausea, stomach distress, diarrhea, and vomiting. I only linked it because a co-worker is having the same symptoms and that is what we had in common.”
A similar cluster of illnesses tied to a Chipotle in Sterling, Virginia, was reported to the website in July, and Chipotle temporarily closed the restaurant as a result. Chipotle’s shares dropped more than 7% on that news. Health officials later determined that norovirus, a highly contagious virus, was the source of the outbreak.
Norovirus is different from E. coli, the bacteria that two years ago sickened more than 50 people who had eaten at Chipotle restaurants in 14 states.