On Wednesday, August 1, public health officials have issued out a public health alert warning consumers to not eat at a Chipotle Mexican restaurant.
The number of potential customers who may be affected by a possible foodborne illness has grown to staggering numbers. Public health officials have received hundreds of illness claims by individuals who ate one of the Chipotle restaurants in Powell, Ohio.
As of Wednesday night, the Deleware General Health District said that they were investigating 518 inquiries — 95 emails and 423 phones calls — that are related to the outbreak.
According to the county officials Facebook page, "Staff members have been able to interview over 200 of those inquiries. Both stool samples and food samples have been delivered to the Ohio Department of Health (ODH) for laboratory testing."
The counties health officials are testing for Salmonella, Shigella, E. coli, and Norovirus in the stool samples. Bacillus Cereus or Clostridium Perfringens and the four listed above will be tested in the food samples.
CBS reports that Chipolte's health history is cause for concern; while it could be an isolated incident, it still could be a health safety issue across other Chipolte's restaurants around the world.
"Chipotle is a special case, because they were the source of so many cases in such a short amount of time," Ben Chapman, an associate professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University, told CBS MoneyWatch.
"They are under a microscope, and any blip that arises is important for the business on a scale different than others," Chapman added.
At this time, state health officials are taking this outbreak as "a single restaurant issue," Chapman said. "We're probably looking at food handling behaviors in that one restaurant."
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