Chipotle

Chipotle Faces Food Poisoning Lawsuits in California and Minnesota

Chipotle Faces Food Poisoning Lawsuits in California and Minnesota
Image credit: Monica Dipres

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Chipotle is dealing with two apparently unrelated lawsuits from customers who purchased meals that left more than a bad taste in their mouths.

Two lawsuits have been filed against the burrito chain in the last week, one in Minnesota and one in California. In Minnesota, April Beck is the first Chipotle customer to file a lawsuit against the chain following a salmonella outbreak in August, reports Food Poisoning Journal. In California, two women have filed a lawsuit against Chipotle for damages due to norovirus infections.

The Minnesota salmonella outbreak involved a suspect ingredient that was served in 17 Chipotle locations. At least 45 people have been sickened, and five (including Beck) have been hospitalized. The ingredient, which Chipotle and the Minnesota Department of Health have thus far declined to disclose, has been swapped out from all Chipotle restaurants in the state.

Related: Chipotle Hit With Lawsuit Over GMO-Free Menu Claims

In California, the food poisoning was related not to salmonella but instead norovirus infections, which are often linked to contaminated employees preparing food. Eighty customers and 17 employees were sickened after eating food from a Simi Valley, Calif., Chipotle location on Aug. 18 and 19, including the two women who filed the lawsuit, reports Food Poisoning Journal.

After customers reported the outbreak, the location was temporarily closed. Health inspectors reported that the Chipotle contained dirty and inoperative equipment, as well as equipment directly connected to the sewer, along with other sanitary and health violations.

The Food and Drug Agency is attempting to cut down on outbreaks of this sort with new preventative measures, announced last week, which attempt to create "nationally integrated food safety system." Foodborne disease outbreaks affect 48 million people in the U.S. every year, making the new rules something that could affect anyone who has ever eaten a bad burrito.

Related: FDA Releases New Anti-Food Poisoning Rules Just as Salmonella Outbreak Reaches 30 States