Chipotle Founder Is Sorry 120 People Got Sick in Brighton

Following the apparent norovirus outbreak in Boston and the E. coli epidemic elsewhere, the company is reviewing "every single ingredient we use."


Chipotle image via Google Maps

It’s been a rough fall for Chipotle Mexican Grill. The fast food chain has been dealing with a PR nightmare since E. coli sickened more than 50 people in nine states last month, but it was because 120 people contracted a stomach bug this week after eating at the Cleveland Circle Chipotle that company founder Steve Ells appeared on NBC’s Today this morning.

“This was a very unfortunate incident and I am deeply sorry it happened,” Ells said.

The Brighton restaurant remains closed for the third day as the Boston Public Health Commission continues investigating what they have determined to be a norovirus outbreak, the Boston Globe reported.

On Monday, news first broke that several Boston College students, including eight members of the men’s basketball team, developed gastrointestinal symptoms—vomiting and diarrhea—following a meal at the shop. By Wednesday, the college counted 120 reports of illness, with the majority of students having recently visited Chipotle. The Boston Public Health Commission has confirmed 80 cases of norovirus connected to the restaurant, according to the Globe. That number could go up: The BPHC is still looking at cases, and the disease is highly contagious.

Chipotle is currently deep-cleaning the Cleveland Circle restaurant. “When we reopen, that restaurant will be completely sanitized and every single employee will be tested to assure they do not have the norovirus.,” Ells said on Today.

The company is also carefully looking at all of its products and retooling its food-safety practices, he said. He promises that when the Brighton Chipotle reopens, it will be the “safest place to eat.”