California Chipotle customers may not be feeling in the mood for a burrito any time soon. At least 60 customers were sickened last week after eating at a Chipotle restaurant in Simi Valley. Sources say patients showing signs of food-borne illness began flooding the local ER on August 19, according to CBS. Customer Kam Zreik says he was running a 101-degree temperature and received IV fluids for dehydration. "I was throwing up a lot," he says. "My aunt who works in the ER told me 19 people came in the night I got sick with food poisoning." After receiving several complaints, the restaurant shut down for a day citing a "staffing shortage."
NBC reports that the restaurant sent home 17 sick employees and closed to clean and restock with fresh food. The Ventura County health department then performed an inspection on Monday. The Chipotle passed inspection despite having repeat violations for unsanitary floors, walls, and ceilings; unclean and damaged equipment; flying insects; and employees lacking food handlers licenses. Tests to determine what made customers ill are still pending. In a statement to NBC, the fast-food chain says:
The safety and well being of our customers is always our highest priority. When we were contacted by customers who reported feeling poorly after visiting our restaurant in Simi Valley, we notified health department officials, immediately began a review of the incident, and have taken all of the necessary steps to ensure that it is safe to eat there.
Of course there's a reason why the Department of Health inspects restaurants. Violations and incidents of foodborne illnesses are rampant in the food world. During August alone, a woman discovered a fake nail buried in her Taco Bell nachos and employees at a Checkers were caught on camera wiping a customer's burger bun on the floor. That's not even accounting for the massive Blue Bell ice cream recall. Meanwhile, the United States Justice Department is considering imposing harsher penalties on companies involved in outbreaks of food poisoning.
Watch the full NBC report on Chipotle below: