Kent Health Department investigates Chipotle after food sickness

Kiera Manion-Fischer

Chipotle employee Kacie Prologo tells people about the restaurant’s closing this afternoon for sanitary reasons. Abigail S. Fisher |

Credit: DKS Editors

At least 180 people reported symptoms of severe nausea, vomiting and diarrhea beginning Thursday night after eating at Chipotle Mexican Grill on state Route 59 in Kent.

Chipotle closed voluntarily this afternoon to sanitize its facilities after a Kent Health Department investigation.

“Chipotle restaurant seems to be the common factor in the outbreak,” said John Ferlito, health commissioner for the Kent Health Department, at a press conference this afternoon.

The department’s investigation found that Chipotle had not violated any food laws.

People were treated either at the DeWeese Health Center or Robinson Memorial Hospital.

Students experienced symptoms in varying degrees. Most cleared up after 24 hours, Ferlito said.

Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold said in an e-mail that the restaurant met or exceeded health department requirements and will continue to help the health department with its investigation.

The Health Department sent food samples and stool samples to the Ohio Health Department to be tested to determine the exact cause and type of the illness.

The results will probably be completed by the end of next week.

Kelly Engelhart, director of Nursing for the Portage County Health department said the exact cause may never be known.

The DeWeese Health Center will open at 10 a.m. tomorrow to accommodate students. It is not usually open on weekends.

Contact safety reporter Kiera Manion-Fischer at [email protected].