Samples taken from Chipotle yield no bacteria

Kiera Manion-Fischer

The Ohio Department of Health found food samples taken from Chipotle in Kent two weeks ago were not contaminated with bacteria. People who had eaten at the restaurant tested positive for norovirus last week.

There is no test for the virus in food, said Kristopher Weiss, spokesman for the Ohio Department of Health, but all the results for various bacteria came back negative yesterday. The department performed tests for salmonella, E. coli, shigella, staph and fecal coliform, none of which were found in the food. Fecal coliform is present in most human feces and would have indicated that human waste got into the food — one of the ways that norovirus is transmitted is through waste.

About 432 people got sick after eating at Chipotle between April 15 and 18.

John Ferlito, health commissioner for the Kent Health Department, said the department is still determining which foods people got sick from after eating at Chipotle. The department is looking at exactly 40 people who got sick and 40 who didn’t get sick and seeing what they ate in common.

“We would assume the food was contaminated,” he said. “How it got contaminated I’m not quite sure yet. We might never know.”

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