There have been several outbreaks of different types of food poisoning in Chipotle restaurants across the United States. There are at least a dozen Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants in the Columbus, Ohio, region and many more throughout the state. Although it is unclear exactly how many people became sick across Ohio, it appears that at least a dozen people in the Cleveland area were sickened in recent months by E. coli bacteria after eating at Chipotle restaurants. The outbreak has prompted extensive cleaning and revamping of food safety procedures in the chain’s restaurants throughout the country.
It’s not just restaurants
This is not the first food poisoning outbreak in Ohio. Last spring, many people were sickened and one person died after food served at a church supper in Lancaster was later found to be contaminated with botulism, possibly from home-canned potatoes. In June 2015, there was an outbreak of salmonella at a Bowling Green assisted-living facility. Back in 2012, Columbus found itself facing an outbreak of Shigellosis, with more than 750 people sickened.
The culprit in food poisoning is not only restaurant food or food at potlucks and church suppers. Fresh uncooked produce can also contain bacteria that can cause illness. In fact, bacteria lurking in spinach and lettuce appear to be the cause of the Chipotle food poisoning cases. Improperly sealed jars from the factory prompted a 2015 recall of salsa made in Zanesville to stave off an outbreak of botulism.
CDC tracks food poisoning deaths
Food poisoning can be much more than a few days of discomfort and a lot of time in the bathroom. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 3,000 people die in the United States each year and almost 130,000 are hospitalized because of food-borne illnesses. The CDC tracks outbreaks of food poisoning arising from 31 different infectious agents.
Most news reports about outbreaks of food-borne illnesses end with precautions that people can take to protect themselves: wash hands frequently, wash raw food such as fruit and vegetables thoroughly or remove peel, cook meat thoroughly, and be aware of your symptoms if you do get sick.
Moreover, you may be eligible to take legal action against the entity responsible for your illness by filing a premises liability lawsuit. An experienced personal injury lawyer can tell you about your rights and options.