Chipotle and Costco E.coli Outbreaks Point out the Need for Advanced Testing Kit


Published Date : Jan 20, 2016

During the period from October 2015 to November 2015, over 50 customers have been affected with E.coli after eating at Chipotle locations across Washington, Kansas, Oregon, and Oklahoma. More recently, 80 college students in Boston fell sick with the norovirus after contracting it from a single Chipotle location. By the end of 2015, more than 350 people became sick after eating at Chipotle. In early November, just after the Chipotle case had made headlines, another E.coli outbreak was reported in Costco. The point of contamination was traced to chicken salad. 

In case of Chipotle, the Burrito chain has been unable to pinpoint the source of the E. coli bacteria. In an effort to trace back the source of the outbreak, the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), has utilized a high-tech genetic testing. The CDC’s high-tech method identifies the DNA fingerprint of the bacteria. Once the DNA fingerprint of the E. coli strain is identified on food products, the contamination source is easily tracked down
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Following the several E.coli outbreaks, Chipotle’s stock has fallen 45% in the past few months. Recently, Chiptole’s executive team has decided to allow its entire chain of U.S.-based locations to offer customers with more free food than before. Both these E.coli outbreaks point out the need for an advanced E.coli testing kit. 

Researchers at the Western University have developed a testing kit to rapidly test the presence of E. coli strain in a given food sample. Aimed especially at meat processing plants, the kit can identify the presence of the bacteria in very short duration. Also, the testing kit is expected to cost cheaper than the conventional lab testing methods. Currently, the testing kit is awaiting Health Canada’s approval.