The government is now stepping in to help mitigate Chipotle's E. coli disaster: The CDC is utilizing high-tech genetic testing in an effort to pinpoint the source of the outbreak, reports ABC News.
In a statement issued Tuesday, the chain announced it had taken a number of steps to address the outbreak, including disposing of food, deep cleaning restaurants, and hiring two food safety consulting firms to help it clean up its act. Both the company itself and local and state health departments have been conducting environmental and food testing at various Chipotle locations, but have so far been unable to determine the source of the E. coli bacteria.
The CDC's high-tech methods will enable it to identify the DNA of the illness-causing bacteria; "it's key to know the DNA fingerprint of the bacteria so that health officials can identify the strain on food products and track down the source," infectious disease expert Dr. William Schaffner tells ABC News.
The burrito chain abruptly shuttered 43 locations in Oregon and Washington after the foodborne illness was traced back to the company. According to the Associated Press, a total of 40 people have now been sickened as a result of the chain's E. coli outbreak. One of the affected, a 14-year-old Oregon girl, spent six days in the hospital with a fever, bloody diarrhea, and "excruciating" pain, reports Fox 12.