Some Chipotle customers say undeterred by E. coli outbreak

Sat Nov 21, 2015 4:39pm EST
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By Katie Reilly

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Diners at Chipotle Mexican Grill locations on Saturday said freshness and convenience outweighed concerns about contamination following the news that food poisoning cases had erupted at the chain's locations in six U.S. states.

Shares of the fast-casual chain tumbled 12.3 percent to an 18-month low on Friday on word that the E. coli outbreak, originally limited to Chipotle locations in Washington state and Oregon, had spread to four additional states: California, Ohio, New York and Minnesota.

At least 45 people have been infected with the E. coli O26 strain. Of those, 43 reported eating at a Chipotle restaurant in the week before their illness started, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, which said a common meal item or ingredient served at Chipotle was likely the source of the outbreak.

But diners at a handful of Chipotle locations said they were undeterred by the reports.

"I'm not going to get flipped out by all the horrible things that could happen. I think Chipotle is cutting-edge," said Marguerite Regan, 50, in Wichita, Kansas.

She was considering taking her 8-year-old son to the restaurant, which she likes because of its vegan options.

Brandon Doby, a 19-year-old Colgate University student who picked up food at a Chipotle in Syracuse, New York, said: "I'm aware of the E. coli breakout, but I've got bigger things to worry about than E. coli."

Alex Boucounis, 17, who also ate at the Syracuse restaurant on Saturday, said he was concerned and planned to research exactly which stores had been hit. He said he had not realized that New York was affected.   Continued...

Customers enter a Chipotle restaurant in Seattle, Washington November 20, 2015.  REUTERS/David Ryder