Local

More than 75 people reported sick after eating at SoCal Chipotle

Dozens of people reported feeling sick after dining at a Chipotle restaurant in Simi Valley last week.
Dozens of people reported feeling sick after dining at a Chipotle restaurant in Simi Valley last week.
File photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

At least 60 customers reported feeling ill after dining at a Chipotle restaurant in Simi Valley last week, and 17 employees were sent home sick.

Chipotle reported those numbers to Ventura County Environmental Health, community services manager Doug Beach told KPCC. The company on Monday contacted the department, which over the weekend started receiving complaints from customers who visited the 1263 Simi Town Center Way location.

"We were throwing up, going to the bathroom,” Cindy Vasquez, who visited the restaurant on August 18, told NBC4. “We had really bad chills.”

“I was throwing up a lot,” Kam Zreik told CBS Los Angeles. “My aunt who works in the ER told me 19 people came in the night I got sick with food poisoning,” he said.

Ventura County Environmental Health conducted an inspection on Monday. Although inspectors saw no major violations, the report on Ventura County's website includes the following infractions:

  • the premises and/or floors, walls or ceiling are in an unsanitary condition
  • equipment or utensils are not clean fully operative and in good repair
  • flying insects observed within the food facility
  • food handlers employed at this facility do not possess a valid food handler card and/or records documenting that food employees possess a valid food handler card are not maintained by the food facility for review as required
  • equipment is connected directly to the sewer
  • wall and/or ceiling surfaces are deteriorated and/or damaged
  • the restroom is unclean or in disrepair

"Chipotle had voluntarily closed the store [on Friday], disposed of the food and done a complete clean out and disinfection,” according to Beach. He said that the store reopened Saturday.

"When we were contacted by customers who reported feeling poorly after visiting our restaurant in Simi Valley, we notified health department officials, immediately began a review of the incident, and have taken all of the necessary steps to ensure that it is safe to eat there," said Chipotle communications director Chris Arnold in an emailed statement to KPCC. 

Ventura County Environmental Health's investigation will likely conclude by the end of the week or next, according to Beach.

“We weren't advised until after the fact so there's nothing to sample,” Beach said. “Everybody's better and the food's gone. So we're having to go on what the symptoms are, onset times and that type of thing.”