That workers stayed home in particular was a good sign, said Doug Powell, publisher of the food safety site barfblog.com. "It is an indication that the system is working," he said. But customers may focus only on the sickness, not the company response. For burrito fans, "It's just - ooh, they're barfing at Chipotle again," Powell said.
The company response was not a test of new measures to ensure ingredients are safe and avoid E.coli, he added.
Chipotle food scares last year include two E.coli outbreaks linked to its restaurants that sickened more than 50 people in 10 states, as well as separate outbreaks of norovirus, a highly contagious virus known as the "winter vomiting bug", in Massachusetts and California that involved more than 350 diners.
Three employees are suspected to have norovirus in Billerica, the town's Board of Health said. Earlier in the day, local Public Health Director Richard Berube told reporters that one of the three had been confirmed to have the virus.