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Chipotle hit with another food-safety crisis

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Health authorities in Seattle say they closed a Chipotle Mexican Grill there yesterday because of repeated food-safety violations and are investigating a consumer’s report that he got sick after eating at another store in the area on Monday.

“This investigation is in the very earliest stage, so it is not known what the cause of illness is or whether it is linked to Chipotle,” cautioned a blog post on the website of Seattle & King County Public Health.

The agency also revealed that its agents had found “at least one red critical violation” in each of nine local units that were recently inspected, earning the stores a rating of “unsatisfactory.” A unit is not typically closed until it has racked up 90 red-critical violations, the blog noted.

The restaurant that was ordered to close yesterday had a score of fewer than 33 red-critical violations, the agency acknowledged. However, it was the third time that unit had shown violations at that level.

The posting came on the same day Chipotle took to the airwaves to reassure the public about the safety of its restaurants.

Health authority explained that it was carefully monitoring all units in the area following an outbreak of E.coli two months ago. Many of the 52 victims in Washington and Oregon had eaten at a Chipotle before getting sick.

Meantime, officials of Boston College raised their count of how many students had been sickened by a local Chipotle to 140, from an earlier tally of 120. That unit apparently remains closed.

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