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Chipotle’s E. coli outbreak spreads to California

New cases of E. coli linked to Chipotle have been reported in California, New York and Ohio.

New cases of E. coli linked to Chipotle have been reported in California, New York and Ohio.

(Gene J. Puskar / Associated Press)

Chipotle Mexican Grill’s E. coli outbreak has reached California.

Two diners who ate at the chain’s Turlock restaurant in Stanislaus County fell ill from the same strain implicated in earlier cases linked to Chipotle’s Pacific Northwest eateries, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

Chipotle said in a news release that federal health authorities this week had reduced the number of cases connected to the restaurant group from 50 to 37, but six new cases, including the two in Turlock, were traced to the strain, according to the CDC. The other new cases were in Akron, Ohio; Amherst, N.Y.; and Burnsville, Minn.

Sixteen people have been hospitalized during the outbreak, but no one has died, CDC officials said.

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“We do not plan to close restaurants at this time,” Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold said in an email.

Chipotle closed all of its restaurants in Washington and in the Portland, Ore., area after the initial outbreak, but they have reopened. The spread of the E. coli strain to four new, far-flung states suggests that the source of the contamination lies higher in the supply or distribution chain than individual restaurants.

Arnold said that although the cases are newly reported, the exposures came between Oct. 13 and Nov. 6. The restaurant group has responded with additional deep cleaning, replacing ingredients and providing supply chain data to investigators, he said.

No employees have gotten sick from E.Coli, he added.

Shares of the restaurant plunged 12% on news the illness had spread, the Associated Press said.

Denver-based Chipotle opened in 1993 and has 1,900 restaurants in the U.S. and abroad.

Twitter: @geholland

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