Home of the ‘diarrhea burrito’: New and notable at Chipotle

With a possible second E. coli O26 outbreak, a plummeting stock price and no answers, it’s a lousy winter solstice for Chipotle.

family.guy.diarrheaThe U.S. Centers for Disease Control is investigating another, more recent outbreak of a different, rare DNA fingerprint of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O26 (STEC O26) linked to Chipotle Mexican Grill. Because it is not known if these infections are related to the larger, previously reported outbreak of STEC O26 infections, these illnesses are not being included in the case count for that outbreak. This investigation is ongoing.

Five ill people have been identified in Kansas (1), North Dakota (1), and Oklahoma (3).

The illnesses started on dates ranging from November 18, 2015 to November 26, 2015.

All five (100%) reported eating at a Chipotle Mexican Grill in the week before illness started.

The CDC does not know yet if they are linked to a larger outbreak that began at the end of October.

And as Chipotle chief Steve Ells continues his apology tour, The Denver Post editorial board asks, will Ells take a pay cut?

Ells made $25 million in 2013 and $28.9 million in 2014 — way more than CEOs at peer companies and more than 1,000 times the median Chipotle worker. Anything even approaching those figures for 2015 would be scandalous.

Finally, there’s me telling Lexi Sutter of 41 Action News KSHB in Kansas City this morning that Chipotle “is a company focused on marketing of what I call, ‘food porn.’ That is, it’s easy on the eyes, not a lot of depth to it. What I’ve found in the past is that companies who focus so much on the adjectives may not pay as much attention as the things that make people barf.”

doug.interview.dec.15Powell writes about food safety on his blog, barfblog.com.

Today from Coolangatta, Australia.

Happy summer solstice.