Health officials found boxes of raw chicken ‘leaning’ on packaged foods in Chipotle restaurants linked to illness reports

Chipotle has spent millions of dollars on measures to improve food safety.

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Chipotle has spent millions of dollars on measures to improve food safety.
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Hollis Johnson

  • Health officials have inspected three Chipotle restaurants in Powell, Ohio, after receiving nearly 700 inquiries related to a suspected foodborne-illness outbreak.
  • Inspectors said they found boxes of raw chicken “leaning” on other packaged foods, creating a contamination risk, in two restaurants.
  • The violations come as Chipotle has spent millions of dollars on measures to improve food safety.

Health officials have inspected three Chipotle restaurants in Powell, Ohio, following reports from customers who said they got sick after eating at the restaurants.

In two of the restaurants, inspectors found boxes of raw chicken “leaning” on other packaged foods, according to health records.

The violations come as Chipotle has spent millions of dollars on measures to improve food safety.

The Delaware General Health District on Thursday found “boxes of raw chicken partially leaning onto boxes of packaged foods” at the Chipotle restaurant at 9733 Sawmill Parkway that’s at the center of a suspected illness outbreak, according to health records. The proximity of the raw chicken to other foods presented a risk of contamination, the report said.

Following a visit to another Chipotle, at 8695 Owenfield Dr., on Wednesday, inspectors wrote that a “box of raw chicken” was “observed up against boxes of unopened beans and very close to ready-to-eat items.”

Inspectors also found foods that were not being held at proper temperatures.

In an emailed statement to Business Insider, a Chipotle spokeswoman, Laurie Schalow, said: “Food safety is our number one priority and we are proud of the industry leading practices and training we have in place across our system. These instances where two SEALED packaged products were next to each other in the walk-in refrigerator were immediately remedied.”

DGHD said late Thursday that it had received 703 calls and emails concerning potential illnesses stemming from the Chipotle restaurant on Sawmill Parkway. Officials have tested customers’ stool samples but have not identified a source of the suspected illness outbreak and are conducting further testing. The location temporarily shut down on Monday for cleaning and reopened on Tuesday. No customers who ate at the restaurant since Tuesday have reported becoming ill.

DGHD has also received three reports of possible illnesses stemming from two other Chipotle locations – the restaurant on Owenfield Drive and another at 1710 Columbus Pike – prompting inspections of both.