UPDATE: West Seattle Chipotle closed today in regional health concern over possible E. coli cases in WA, OR

10:58 AM: We’ve just confirmed that Chipotle Mexican Grill in The Junction is one of the chain’s restaurants that are closed TFN while Chipotle deals with a health concern in some areas of Washington and Oregon. First word of closures in King County and elsewhere came via this story from Portland reporting more than 20 suspected E. coli illnesses in Oregon and Washington. After reader questions, we drove by the location in The Junction and confirmed closure signs, which, when we drove by, were the “Experience Closure” message also photographed at Oregon stores; by the time we could park to get a photo, the restaurant changed to “FYI” signs citing a “supply chain issue.”

The closure also was confirmed by the corporate Twitter account for Chipotle, in response to our mention of the closure:

We asked how long the closure is expected to last:

1:03 PM: The most comprehensive information about the regional outbreak so far is still coming from the Oregon Health Authority – here’s its news release. The Washington State Department of Health also has issued a news release, saying four of the cases were reported in King County. No word on what might have been the source of the bacteria.

36 Replies to "UPDATE: West Seattle Chipotle closed today in regional health concern over possible E. coli cases in WA, OR"

  • Diane October 31, 2015 (1:55 pm)

    read many stories about this last night; checked wsblog last night to see if the junction store was closed
    today, this was one of the stories in my daily food safety news email (goes out to 20,000 subscribers) from the famous food safety lawyer/champion Bill Marler, who also lives in Seattle:
    “Update: AP now reports that Washington and Oregon health officials are investigating an E. coli outbreak linked to six Chipotle restaurants in Washington state and Oregon, health officials said Saturday. Three people in the Portland area and at least 19 people in Washington have become sick after eating at the Mexican food chain since Oct. 14.”
    “One-third of those sickened have been hospitalized, but no one has died from the infection. Those affected are between ages 11 and 64.”
    full story here, and you can sign up for daily safety news:

    • WSB October 31, 2015 (2:02 pm)

      That’s all in what we linked. And we have it directly from health authorities. It wasn’t widely reported in Seattle media until shortly after we confirmed the local closure and tweeted about it. Shortly after that, the citywide media stories started popping up.

  • Sarah October 31, 2015 (2:13 pm)

    There’s a wonderful local, Taqueria Guaymas just across the street, better choice in every way!

  • Mike October 31, 2015 (2:30 pm)

    This spread like wildfire this morning on social media. There will be hundreds of cases by the end of the day, hopefully all will recover. The fact that Chipotle shut down completely in both Oregon and Washington tells me how widespread the issue really is with their contaminated ingredients. It would be good to know which local farm they used to get the food items so that other sources will know what to look out for and pull from shelves / food lines.

  • SJ2 October 31, 2015 (2:49 pm)

    Last year I got serious food poisoning from a Chipotle up in Alderwood. The chicken was undercooked and I discovered it after consuming quite a bit. I was so sick for 5 days I thought I was dying. I contacted Chipotle’s corporate headquarters and they apologized and said they would look into that branch. They called back the next day telling me they did and found no violations. I called the health department and they did an inspection and found multiple violations. I have little trust left for chipotle.

  • Chris W October 31, 2015 (3:54 pm)

    I was disappointed to find a long dark hair in my burrito the week they opened. Haven’t been back, and this news won’t make it any more likely.

  • hj October 31, 2015 (4:00 pm)

    The sign is rather disingenuous, but I guess it’s hard to effectively communcicate why they’re really closed without making them look rather bad.

  • James October 31, 2015 (4:15 pm)

    Echoing Sarah… eat at a local restaurant instead, unless you want the Junction to turn into another strip mall.

  • Beau October 31, 2015 (4:59 pm)

    My wife and daughters ate at the WS Chipotle on Wednesday October 28. We were up all last night with my 5 year old vomiting and with serious diarrhea. Just got home from Children’s Hospital. Hopefully the test for ecoli will come back negative. Won’t be eating there again no matter what the result.

  • thee October 31, 2015 (5:59 pm)

    I’ve been enjoying not eating at McChips since they opened.


  • Diane October 31, 2015 (6:28 pm)

    oh, so sorry to hear that Beau; prayers for quick healing

  • Diane October 31, 2015 (6:35 pm)

    I haven’t seen any other news or social media yet today; as I said in my 1st comment, read many stories about this last night; and of course wondered about our local Chipotle in the junction; I’ve never even been inside one, so not sure why it’s so popular; I have seen lines down the block to get into the downtown Chipotle at lunch time
    healing prayers to anyone sickened by this

  • i'mcoveredinbees October 31, 2015 (6:53 pm)

    Diane, how do you get on that list?

    This is horrible. I hope everyone recovers soon. This is enough to make me never, ever eat there.

  • Ttt October 31, 2015 (7:19 pm)

    We ate there once and the food was all cold. we won’t be going back until we see steam actually coming off the food… And the e coli is gone…

  • Eric October 31, 2015 (8:44 pm)

    I remember reading when Chipotle was going in, all these people applauding it (planted positive reviews?) From what I read tonight, I won’t set foot in one.

    • WSB October 31, 2015 (9:04 pm)

      No, they weren’t planted. They were actual readers. The chain doesn’t need to “plant” reviews – they’re very popular. Only time I’ve been in one was while stuck at a New Jersey mall after a conference a couple years ago. But separate from popularity or lack of it, this obviously is being investigated and we’ll be watching for followup information including whether individual restaurants that were involved are ever identified, what the bacteria is eventually traced to, and when they decide to reopen. Since this all started going wide over the weekend, I’d guess the information floodgates will open more widely on Monday. – TR

  • Sara October 31, 2015 (9:17 pm)

    I too prefer supporting local businesses where it’s still possible. I tried the Chipotle in the U District a few years ago. It was fine but I’m not tempted to return. Guaymas is yummy and feels like family.
    Best wishes to all for a quick recovery… Could have happened to any of us.

  • M October 31, 2015 (9:51 pm)

    I applaud Chipotle for closing all these restaurants in the abundance of caution. Anytime there is food there is an opportunity for bacteria like ecoli. It’s never good and I feel horrible for the families affected. At least Chipotle is stepping up and doing the right thing.

  • TheKing October 31, 2015 (9:57 pm)

    “Supply chain issue”. This is the world we live in, never admit anything with detailed facts.

  • claire October 31, 2015 (11:35 pm)

    Sounds like a supplier is at fault rather than individual outlets. Having moved from So Ca last year to Seattle I was shocked that no ABC signs exist in restaurant windows, indicating public health compliance with food handling practices. I realize that this would not prevent
    a company’s suppliers from having contamination problems.

  • Dan October 31, 2015 (11:39 pm)

    Eat local but don’t think this couldn’t happen to a local eatery. If it’s poorly cooked meat or the like then that is negligence. The cause could be beyond its control. If the lettuce, cilantro, or some other green they get from a supplier/farm was contaminated then they would never know until people get sick. If it’s in an uncook item washing doesn’t fix E. Coli in a plants water transport system. If it’s traced back to a farm it could spread to other restaurants or grocery stores quickly.

  • Chemist October 31, 2015 (11:44 pm)

    Of course, it is worth remembering that Chipolte is one of the few chains around that cooks with only non-GMO ingredients. They state that quite proudly.

  • Diane October 31, 2015 (11:48 pm)

    i’mcoveredinbees; if you click on the story link I posted in 1st comment, it takes you to Bill Marler’s food safety website
    and click on the subscribe tab
    or just go here:
    just saw Bill Marler say he suspects it’s something green leafy, like lettuce; NOT related to insufficient cooking; and he suspects the numbers of people sickened to double/triple over days/weeks

  • Question Mark November 1, 2015 (12:05 am)

    There have been reports of similar food borne illness outbreaks associated with Chipotle, but not directly to this latest incident.

    99 sickened in Southern California August 2015 (Norovirus)
    45 sickened in Minnesota September 2015 (Salmonella)

    Whether or not it is practices at Chipotle restaurants, or practices at its suppliers that is the cause, the restaurant chain will definitely need to get the situation under control if it hopes to keep the trust of future customers.

  • dale November 1, 2015 (1:47 am)

    Chipotle had similar problem in Twin Cities few months back from bad tomatoes.

  • Janice November 1, 2015 (9:02 am)

    This brings back horrible nightmares of the close brush with death my 3 year old granddaughter had from the very same strain of this horrible bacteria. It was never determined where she picked it up. She was in a highly ranked Children’s hospital for 2 months, intensive care for half of that. Every single system in her body was affected, including her brain. She was on dialysis for 2 weeks. She was saved by an experimental drug, considered the most expensive in the world. Chipotle needs to stay closed until the exact source of this can be pinpointed and corrected. I will never eat there.

  • Claire November 1, 2015 (9:57 am)

    Before I could read an online news item, I was held hostage to an ad generated by Chipotle on what horrible things other fast food restaurants use in their foods, such as dyes, fillers, etc., while Chipotle uses nothing but the best…. The best e.coli?

  • nwmama November 1, 2015 (10:09 am)

    There are opportunities for food borne illness EVERYWHERE, EVERY RESTAURANT, EVERY HOME. This is not unique to chipotle, it is a function of our industrialized food supply. not “sticking up’ for chipotle but it is literally a risk we take every time we eat out. Sorry. Beau, I truly hope your child recovers quickly and fully.

  • Chris November 1, 2015 (12:31 pm)

    Dear Chipotle,
    Please leave West Seattle immediately. You were never welcome to enter our community. California Ave. is for local businesses, and you are not a local business. Do not reopen your doors after your bacterial outbreak is sorted out. We don’t want you here.

    Dear West Seattleites, please do not buy anything from Chiptole. Vote with your dollars, and put them out of business in W.S.

    This notice also applies to other corporate chain’s that have entered West Seattle and California Ave.

  • Claire November 1, 2015 (4:47 pm)

    Nwmama is right. My son managed a restaurant in Sam Diego. When the health inspectors came in one day he attempted to make small talk and asked where they liked to eat out. The more taciturn of the two looked him in the eye and said, “we don’t!” I’ve turned into a pretty decent Mexican cook rather than taking a chance on restaurant food.

    Wishing a speedy recovery to all those stricken with this virulent malady.

  • East Coast Cynic November 1, 2015 (5:53 pm)

    Instead of Chipotle’s or Guaymas in the Junction(bland Mexican IMO), go to White Center–plenty of options.

    I hope they leave the Junction and we get a quality privately owned restaurant in its place.

  • i'mcoveredinbees November 1, 2015 (10:16 pm)

    Thanks, Diane!

  • aa November 1, 2015 (11:08 pm)

    what world does Chris live in? No corporate chains in WS? So you must never eat at Matador, or Taco Del Mar, shop at PCC, QFC, Jaks, Bartells, Rite Aid, Uptown Espresso, even Guyamas is a corporate chain! I’m not particularly interested or happy about Chipotle being in the junction but someone leased them the space and they have as much right as any other company to do business there in my opinion.

  • Freddie November 2, 2015 (7:00 am)

    Looks like the lines will be shorter at the West Seattle location. I’ll be able to zip in and out quicker!!

  • WS4thgeneration November 2, 2015 (11:53 am)

    Speak for yourself! Not sure what kind of power trip you are on to be the self proclaimed “voice of West Seattle” but I can tell you that you do NOT speak for me. If you want to only support local businesses, then that is your right. I also have rights and Chipotle is welcome!

  • DarkHawke November 3, 2015 (3:29 am)

    Seems like with some folks if your business is only doing well enough to keep your head above water, that’s virtuous. But if you become wildly successful and can expand and even own a chain of outlets, you abruptly become vile and evil and must be destroyed. Can someone tell me exactly where that line is? I’d like to do well for myself, but not so well I get pilloried.

Sorry, comment time is over.