The bad headlines just keep on coming for Chipotle: The burrito chain's recent E. coli disaster was originally thought to be relegated to the Pacific Northwest, but now per the Associated Press, investigators say the foodborne illness strain linked to Chipotle has cropped up in nine states.
Today's news follows a November 20 report that revealed the outbreak had spread to six states; the list of affected states now includes Washington, Oregon, California, New York, Ohio, Minnesota, and, per today's news, Illinois, Maryland and Pennsylvania, where seven more illnesses have been identified. That brings the total number of people sickened from the Chipotle E. coli to 52. While the investigation has been ongoing, exactly which food item caused the outbreak has still not been pinpointed.
Meanwhile, a press release issued today by Chipotle reiterates that it's buckling down on measures to make its food safer for customers — even going so far as to say it's committed to becoming an "industry leader in food safety."
While it will remain to be seen exactly how bad the fallout is from this latest public health disaster — Chipotle also had a norovirus outbreak in California this year — the company is certainly already feeling some negative effects: three people stricken with E. coli-related illnesses have filed lawsuits against the chain, with more expected to follow.