53 illnesses in nine states have been reported since October; however, health officials say these new cases are a different, rare type of E. coli. The latest E. coli outbreak has made three people sick in Oklahoma, and one person each in Kansas and North Dakota, according to the CDC.
In its annual report, Chipotle has noted it may be at a higher risk for outbreaks of food-borne illnesses because of its "fresh produce and meats rather than frozen, and our reliance on employees cooking with traditional methods rather than automation". Five people have fallen sick after eating at Chipotle Mexican Grill.
Chipotle's shares slumped as much as 4.6 percent to $498.20 Tuesday in New York.
The State Health Department told News 9 two of those sickened after eating at Chipotle in Oklahoma are from Cleveland County, and the other one is from Canadian County.
Apparently, the last round of inspections, reevaluations, and cleanings weren't enough to get Chipotle out of the woods after E-Coli outbreaks in multiple locations ravaged the fast food restaurant's image. That was followed by a norovirus contagion at a Boston location that sickened more than 140 college students. The company is in the process of implementing these programs.
"Chipotle's food safety issues seem to have exposed deficiencies in the chain's supply testing protocol, particularly as it - like Yum China - manages hundreds of small suppliers", David Palmer of RBC Capital Markets said in a December 7 report.
"The preliminary test that was done on the sample was a polymerase chain reaction test, which is commonly used to rapidly screen for the presence of the DNA of a bacteria, in this case E. coli O157:H7", according to the FDA.
We'd note, however, that the CDC added, "Because it is not known if these infections are related to the larger, previously reported outbreak of STEC O26 infections, these illnesses are not being included in the case count for that outbreak".
For the larger outbreak linked to Chipotle, the most recent case had been on Nov. 10.