Many New York City residents are likely familiar with the American-Mexican fast food restaurant chain Chipotle. Started in 1993, before it was in vogue, the company took steps to ensure that its ingredients were fresh and free of chemicals and antibiotics. This commitment made the fast food restaurant a popular choice among many health-conscious consumers and resulted in the company enjoying tremendous growth and success.
More recently, the company's image as a bastion for healthy fast food has been tarnished as outbreaks of both E. coli and Norovirus have been reported at numerous locations throughout the U.S.
Chipotle's safety woes began last October when the company closed 43 of its locations throughout Seattle and Portland in response to an E. coli outbreak. The following month, more reports of E. coli outbreaks were reported in additional states and fears over the safety of the company's food and food sources intensified.
Just last month, Chipotle was dealt another major blow when some 80 students from Boston College reportedly fell ill with symptoms believed to be Norovirus. In response, the company was forced to shutter the location's doors and conduct extensive cleaning and testing to ensure that everything was decontaminated.
Restaurants have a legal duty to ensure that their premise and everything contained therein is safe and hazard free. In terms of food safety and other health issues, restaurants must take steps to ensure that employees don appropriate safety gear and abide by regular hand-washing procedures. Additionally, restaurants have a responsibility to take measures to prevent outbreaks stemming from food contamination.
Individuals who suffered injuries or experienced a food-related illness after eating in a New York City restaurant may choose to discuss their case with an attorney.
Source: The New York Times, "Chipotle’s Safety Woes Worsen as Scores of Students Fall Ill in Boston," Stephanie Strom, Dec. 8, 2015