Chipotle Shuts Down Restaurants as E-Coli Outbreak Increases….

The problem with the current outbreak may be the structural flaw within food handling processes of the restaurant chain’s business model. 

Good News – Fortunately Shiga-toxin producing E. coli is possible to track through DNA source tracing.  Meaning modern food safety officials actually have the capability to trace the specific DNA strain of E.Coli to the source; *qualifier: so long as the origin is field-based (farm) and not fork-based (poor food handling).

Sign is seen at a Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant in San Francisco, California

Bad News – Unfortunately the structural flaws inherent in behind-line buffet style food presentation are rife with cross-contamination risk.  It would not be surprising to find this outbreak origin is not necessarily from product origination, but rather systemic poor personal hygiene and food safety handling in the retail stores – or a combination therein.

The most dangerous E.Coli outbreaks are not from direct animal proteins, they are from leaf crops, row crops and sprouts.  Those can be traced to field origin where soil contamination (water, animal/human feces) is the root cause.  Lesser frequent protein-based outbreaks are from beef or poultry, generally as an outcome of large scale processing defects/issues.      

chipotle(Via New York Times) The Chipotle chain voluntarily shut down 43 restaurants in Washington State and Oregon over the weekend after health authorities began investigating an E. coli outbreak.

Health authorities are investigating 19 cases of illness related to the bacteria in Washington and three cases in Oregon, involving an unknown type of food. Eight people have been admitted to the hospital, officials said. No one has died.

“There have been links made to six restaurants in the Seattle and Portland areas,” said Chris Arnold, the communications director for Chipotle, in an emailed statement on Monday. “We have closed 43 restaurants in those markets out of an abundance of caution.”

The Oregon Health Authority said in a statement over the weekend that the infection affected people who ate at Chipotle outlets between Oct. 14 and 23.

“We believe that a food item is probably the cause of these infections but we don’t know at this time what food item that is,” said Marisa D’Angeli, medical epidemiologist with the Washington State Department of Health, according to The Associated Press.

E. coli bacteria normally live in the intestines of people and animals, but some strains can cause illness and in some cases, death.

Infections start when a person swallows tiny amounts of human or animal feces, often from swimming in a lake, petting an animal, or eating food prepared by people who did not wash their hands after using the restroom.  (read more)

Field To Fork

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92 Responses to Chipotle Shuts Down Restaurants as E-Coli Outbreak Increases….

  1. Meyer says:

    Dog with Ecoli?

    Like

  2. jackphatz says:

    In today’s society, Organic means “poop”, I don’t know who’s poop so I’ve stopped purchasing anything that is labeled as “organic”.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. fred says:

    43 stores that’s devastating. So much for hipsters and their kale. All that imported food is the same as illegal immigrants unvetted equals disease and illness. Ecoli is rough on ya… You won’t forget if you had it. I lived in mexico and had it a bunch of times along with amoebas and worms… Yes they are bringing this stuff. I had to drink poison to get well. You ain’t seen nothing yet. Wait for hep breakout and TB from hiring cheap labor….. Thanks Jeb and Rubio….

    Liked by 10 people

    • mikayla825 says:

      All of what you say is true, I cannot bring myself to “like” your comment however.

      Liked by 3 people

    • WeeWeed says:

      I’ve not had to do it myself – thank God – but wait’ll you see what public bathroom cleanup after a load of these clowns is. It takes hoses and hazmat suits.
      Pure filth.

      Liked by 3 people

    • FireAm 85 says:

      In AZ, resistant TB and whooping cough are at epic levels but…shhhh, that’s a closely guarded secret.

      Liked by 4 people

      • canadacan says:

        As a person who nearly died from Montezuma’s Revenge after a visit to Mexico I can relate I’m not kidding

        Liked by 1 person

        • NCPatrick says:

          Not funny at all, Canada .. and as a matter of fact when we were in Acapulco a couple years ago and I was felled with MR, the people in next villa (from Canada) were also very sick. My disturbing symptoms continued for a month after we came back home and my doctor finally decided I’d brought a hitch hiker bug back with me. He told me “the good thing about chronic diarrhea is that it helps control your weight!” And I know what made me so sick: the best salad I’ve ever eaten with the most delicious lettuce and tomatoes.

          Like

    • edwatts1969 says:

      “The Chipotle chain voluntarily shut down 43 restaurants in Washington State and Oregon…”

      …Wait…

      …I thought that these places where one can order a “vegetarian” meal — especially along the [left] coast, where these restaurants are located — were liberal paradises where only conservatives, gun owners, and others of such ilk ever felt unwelcome or died. There is absolutely nothing in the story which indicates that these “e-coli” victims were exclusively of a conservative, “not-worthy-to-live” persuasion, which makes me doubt the veracity of the article. Are you seriously — SERIOUSLY? — trying to tell me/us that socialist politics, witchcraft, and crystal worship will not protect me/us from food-borne pathogens?

      Maybe, it’s time to stop hiring illegal aliens who have no concept of food-borne illness nor of hand-washing after toilet trips.

      Jesus Christ!…

      …No, wait…

      …Oh, God…

      …No, wait…

      …Inshallah…

      …No, wait…

      …Uhh…

      …Uhh…

      Liked by 4 people

      • Judgy says:

        In-shagalla?

        Here in the Bay Area, merely ONE Mexican seafood restaurant in San Jose (“Mariscos”, I believe?) has had a recent outbreak of “shagalla” so severe that two separate law firms IMMEDIATELY started running commercials to court those afflicted. I think there were maybe only about 43 people so far who caught THAT, so I can’t even imagine what the fallout might be from THIS debacle! (Although I’m told “shagalla” is different in that it can be passed directly from person to person, so while still gross, it’s just gross in a different way).

        Yesterday I posted about how we need to be clear that we are “against” the “illegal” part of illegal immigration, and how important it is that being against Amnesty, etc. does NOT mean that “we” are against Latinos. (I have 3 close friends, from El Salvador, Colombia and Mexico, who are all DYING to volunteer for Trump’s campaign!!).

        Many, many legal Latino immigrants realize this, and in fact, are far MORE resentful of other immigrants who voluntarily violate our laws than we citizens who were BORN here, b/c they know how hard THEY had to work to EARN their status! (I know I’m preachin’ to the choir here, but you never know who may be reading this, so I’ll take the extra minute to clarify–the problems we have w/ illegals is that they’re ILLEGAL. It is the LEFT who are hung up on “race”, not us!

        So with that being re-stated (probably ad nauseum, but not as nauseating as this story is!), doesn’t it make sense that the people who tend to scorn “rules” & “laws”, and not follow proper procedures regarding things like their Immigration status, might ALSO tend to have the SAME LAX, SCOFFLAW ATTITUDE when it comes to the oh-so onerous & arduous requirements for food preparation, and professional/ personal hygiene??

        If you barged through a sovereign border “to make your life better/ easier”, why would any employer think that you wouldn’t also “cut corners” at work, if that, too, “made your life better, or easier”?

        I just wish that the POLITICIANS grasped this, but then, many of them “cut corners” themselves!

        Liked by 3 people

    • Jett Black says:

      TB has been coming back for some time among our own lower classes and getting much worse due to the invaders. Failure/lack of ability to quarantine and treatment non-compliance makes the problem even worse.

      Liked by 1 person

    • michellc says:

      I had it 20 something years ago, got it from a HB from a HB joint. I was much younger and spent over a week in the hospital. It’s not something I would wish on my worst enemy.

      Like

  4. rodney says:

    Wanna bet their onions and cilantro are coming from Mexico, because a lot of E. coli outbreaks in the past have here in CA have been traced to their produce and shoddy processing practices.

    You really have to clean any produce you buy that comes from Mexico.

    That said, I avoid buffets like the plague, they are a bad idea in today’s society were cleanliness is a option. .

    Liked by 6 people

    • edwatts1969 says:

      Not to mention sending those “immigrants” along the path… “¡Todos a las duchas!” (Everyone to the showers!])

      Like

    • WeeWeed says:

      They wipe with leafy things. When they wipe. Which is seldom.

      Liked by 1 person

    • jackphatz says:

      Cilantro from Mexico was the culprit a few years back. I can’t stand the stuff so I only order my “bowl” with the plain white rice. 😉 It’s really getting hard to find fruits but mainly vegetables that are not from Mexico in the cooler months. Lettuce scares me too. Any leafy green is susceptible.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Sister Marie says:

      Twice I saw a produce delivery person throw a bag of onions on the ground to hold open the door as he brought the rest of the produce delivery in side. Then instead of picking up the bag of onions he proceeded to kick the onions across the floor. When he came out I made a comment to him. I was told to mind my own business. I have never eaten there because of this. I’m from San Diego county

      Like

    • 22227z says:

      Several months back there was a warning to not buy cilantro from Mexico because all the workers weren’t allowed bathroom breaks so they pooped in the fields on the produce. Ever since I read that I have cut way back on buying produce unless it is from a local source or my back yard.

      Like

  5. Sam says:

    This is why I avoid buffet lines and salad bars, although any food service worker could in theory spread germs. May those affected get well soon.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Judgy says:

      The extra fun with certain buffet restaurants is that they often attract people who have trouble keeping an eye on their own, numerous offspring. Then the little angels are often free to TOUCH, or HANDLE things on the salad bar. Eeuuww.

      I even once saw a well-meaning “older sister” chastize a younger one for taking too many chicken wings, and sourdough rolls. Then she made her PUT THEM BACK, grubby fingerprints and all. Yuk!

      I didn’t see any need to embarrass the kids, so I just quietly informed one of the waitstaff. In my IMAGINATION, I glared at their errant “parents”, but having been a learned veteran of Los-Angeles-living at the time, I knew that to some people, merely giving ’em a quick, reproachful glance somehow equates to “disrespecting”, and thus “justifies” them “teaching me a lesson” with threats of, or actual, bodily harm.

      I often think we have less of a “Race Problem”, than a “Culture Problem”–lately, it seems like bad behavior is not only NOT looked down on, but CELEBRATED and GLORIFIED. Unfortunately, that’s being done by people of ALL COLORS. We’re all back in high school, making the bad, “Cool Kids” heroes! (Witness Quentin Tarantino claiming that HE’S the “victim” of his own despicable accusations. He’s not “cool” by siding AGAINST the police–he’s an IDIOT. Yet Jamie Foxx sticks up for him–is that “Hollywoodism”, or “tribalism”? I think it is both–it’s………”Cool-ism”).

      The GOOD NEWS part of this is that CULTURES CAN CHANGE. And boy-oh-boy, does ours ever NEED TO!!!

      TRUMP 2016–because the “Broken Windows” theory is a real thing!

      Like

  6. As they said in South Park, “Why the hl would keep you eat anthing that made you cp blood.”

    Like

  7. FireAm 85 says:

    Immigrants are “the backbone” of the restaurant industry, “If Mr. Trump deports 11 million people … every restaurant in America would shut down,” Bourdain told SiriusXM radio host Pete Dominick last week.
    I guess he’ll stay silent right about now.

    Like

  8. Steve in Greensboro says:

    Apparently George Saunders, master brown paper bag assembler, has taken time out from his day job making Chipotle bags to share some of his vapid thoughts by printing them on the bags themselves.

    But his silly quote made me think of the wise words of St. Paul in his letter to the Thessalonians.

    “For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” (2 Thess 3:11)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Les says:

      I found the quote on the bag to be asinine. People gain an identity and a purpose in life because of their vocations. Heck, half of us are named after a vocation (Taylor, Tanner, Hunter, Tyler, Mason, Archer, Baxter, Fisher, Clark, Conner, Cook, Faulkner, Fletcher, Hooper, Knight, Sawyer, Skinner, Shields, Ward, Webb etc., etc., etc.). I’m sure there are ethnic variations on these, I just don’t know them.

      What should people do all day for an entire lifetime? Why bother to get an education if you aren’t going to DO anything?

      It just made me mad. Stanky hippies.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. hocuspocus13 says:

    😯 Yuk 😯

    Like

  10. fred says:

    I worked in that business and yes immigrants are the backbone but not really. If your cheap and want 8/hr work you have to look the other way on the paperwork and hope it doesn’t come back on you. Any sign of coughing or runny nose or not washing hands as a supervisor your literally risking your business if you ignore it. Hep C from blood is possible from cuts and you won’t know you have it for years. These guys are done and it’s most likely the guacamole or something all the stores receive….. Now if you look at In n Out burger you will see the model…Clean kids all speak English tons of training and 11.50 an hour…. No illegals… You will probably never get sick there.

    Like

  11. fred says:

    In n Out burger is the model for the industry. They pay well 11.50 to start…tons of training… no illegals…all speak English and look like good kids of all races and backgrounds.No tats and rings and funky hair. Great customer service and it’s clean in there always. Fresh food made to order no time in steam table at the danger zone.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. nyetneetot says:

    We live a few blocks from one. Not the most hygienic employees working there. All the displaced OWS people.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Hetter SteelStroke says:

    Why would anyone eat at chipolte or a chili’s? Want to know if the restaurant your eating at is sanitary? Watch out back and if you see smokers and/or workers throwing out trash without gloves..your just asking for it.

    Like

    • WeeWeed says:

      Go check out the bathroom, first.
      Smokers don’t give you ecoli.

      Liked by 3 people

      • michellc says:

        Not to mention if they take out the trash with gloves on doesn’t mean they aren’t going to touch your food with those same gloves.
        I’d prefer to see them take out the trash with no gloves and then see them with gloves on inside after taking out the trash.lol

        Liked by 1 person

    • adoubledot says:

      Got a Qdoba within walking distance of my house. It rocks. Food is excellent, portions are generous, and guacamole is free (not $2.37, got that Chipotle? Oh, and your stock is overvalued, too). Maybe we should short it in overnight trading.

      Like

    • michellc says:

      I’m sorry but that is a poor way to judge if the place is sanitary. Better to check out the restaurant and see if it is clean and if the bathrooms are clean and if the people look clean. If most speak Spanish or look like they just got off a truck a few days ago, you probably don’t want to eat there.
      Still none of that is any guarantee. A restaurant can be spotless and the employees the cleanest around and you can still get sick. You don’t know where they got their food or how it was handled before it reached them.

      Liked by 1 person

      • 22227z says:

        Like Blue Bell. I miss my Blue Bell something bad.

        Liked by 2 people

      • thefirstab says:

        Thanks for your sensible comment michellec – just discussed this issue with my college girl, who got her very first paid job at a Chipotle just off-campus. High traffic, high revenue store employs mostly college kids (well-known SEC campus).
        IMO this outbreak will hopefully be limited to the NW, we are clear across the country and my understanding is Chipotle tries to “keep it local”, at least around here. There may be exceptions, of course. And I am told the hygiene protocols and food storage rules are strictly followed, ateast at this location.
        My ex was a classically trained French chef who was a pig in the kitchen. This can happen anywhere.

        Like

      • fred says:

        since I worked in it what you should look at is how workers are dressed. Are the aprons dirty and they keep wiping their hands clean there. That’s where it spreads. The refrigerator doors where you held raw chicken and opened the door the next guy passes it on. Cutting boards number one way of transmission. Buffets reheating food from yesterday and wrong temps. Don’t forget cat litter boxes have the same stuff plus parasites to boot.

        Like

        • michellc says:

          The honest truth is you can never know 100%.
          In a few towns over there was a restaurant that had been there for several years, nobody ever got sick to my knowledge and the one and only time I was in it everything looked clean, including the workers.
          The couple who owned it decided to retire and they auctioned everything off. I was totally disgusted when I went to the auction and saw how filthy the kitchen was, the floors, walls, counters, walk-in, appliances, everything was disgusting. Years and years of layers of filth. I was glad the one time I was in it I didn’t eat, I had met a friend last minute and had already eaten and just drank a soda.
          Many moons ago as a youngster I worked in the restaurant field and we were always getting wrote up for silly things or one inspector who wanted something done different than another inspector. They would have shut us down if we had been even a quarter as bad as this place. I guess the health inspectors these days just draw a check.
          I like to eat where I can see the kitchen.

          Like

  14. kallibella says:

    YUK! I won’t eat at Chipotle anymore!!!

    Like

  15. waicool says:

    geesh, that sounds bad, i hope no one dies eating at Chipolte’s

    Like

  16. fred says:

    So a good question for Jeb at a debate is. Does it make sense to import millions of people from high disease areas of the world and bring them in unchecked and unvetted where many end up in the fast food places where it is easiest place to spread the disease to the public. They have no sense of personal hygene and keeping clean. Should we not know who has TB or HepC or HIV. Thank you governor you have 60 seconds to respond. be very careful where you go to eat……

    Liked by 1 person

    • czarowniczy says:

      A test of the candidate’s moral fiber: they must each eat from an immigrant owned/operated food truck, parked near a construction site in a predominantly blue-collar area, and the truck’s picked by a panel composed solely of members of the opposite party.
      Finally, a way to get Jindal out of that Hollywood Squares ensemble.

      Like

  17. lilbirdee'12 says:

    And now Qdoba Mexican in Colorado. Happened a couple of months ago. Testing now complete. YUK ! I prefer my own cooking. Rarely eat out. Too many horror stories.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/news/rare-typhoid-fever-qdoba-mexican-restaurant-colorado/

    FTA: Though the outbreak happened in August, the three illnesses were just reported in recent weeks because incubation of the rare infection and diagnosis take time, said state epidemiologist Dr. Lisa Miller with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

    The infected customers came down with headaches, fever and other symptoms. “Two of these three people were actually hospitalized, so they were quite sick,” Miller said. All three patients have now recovered, CBS Denver reported.

    According to Miller, tests of employees showed the source of the illness was an infected food handler at the Qdoba who spread the salmonella typhi bacteria. The employee reportedly showed no symptoms of illness.

    Liked by 2 people

    • czarowniczy says:

      Nooooo, say it ain’t so, Joe! One of my sons who lived in Denver and I used to stagger into QDoba after a real bender – nothing soothed a hangover better than one of their football-sized burritos.
      “… headaches, fever and other symptoms. “Two of these three people were actually hospitalized…” What the hey, I’ve had that after eating in a real Mexican restaurant, thought it was part of the ‘authentic Mexican experience’.

      Like

    • adoubledot says:

      Oh, lovely. Salmonella is nasty and takes over a week to get through. Got it once from eating undercooked oysters a local restaurant and once when I was into adding raw egg to protein shakes.

      Like

  18. conservativehippie says:

    well i buy organic produce as much as possible, however i avoid anything from mexico, organic or not, as much as i possibly can but especially if i can’t peel it. we all know they poop in the fields and have caused outbreaks of e.coli. plus i support my local organic and non-organic farmers. i’m curious as to what the cause will be… wouldn’t be surprised if it’s fecal matter from the fields in mexico though. which brings me to why the heck aren’t we supporting our own farmers here? why are we importing so much produce? makes me mad.

    Like

    • czarowniczy says:

      “Infections start when a person swallows tiny amounts of human or animal feces…” Well now, that may explain the Obama Administration – we became infected with it after too many voters swallowed RAT BS.

      Like

  19. Monroe says:

    The source could just as easily be a hipster doing a colonic cleansing that thinks soap/hand santizer is unnatural. I’m always concerned when broad statements are made such as the source being an illegal immigrant working at the store. I can believe the tainted food from the workers crapping in the field.

    I agree that the illegal aliens are bringing in diseases. However, with e-coli at several stores the source is likely in the supply chain versus the food handlers.

    Like

  20. Mr.Right says:

    Been there once.. walked in.. walked out. The place looked like a bad school cafeteria.
    The prices also seem high for the food quality… Even without the extra free side of E-coli.
    So E-Coli or no E-Coli, I have no interest eating there.

    And on that subject, good food start not in the kitchen, but at the farm…
    I cooked the same dish, the same way, in many places around the world, and it never tasted the same. The more isolated you go, the richer the taste (more nutrition) seems to get.
    And the most striking is the most simple, like a scrambled eggs…

    Something is not right when your egg yolk is a pale yellow… or your orange juice got a milky dull color. Butter is not supposed to be white, olive oil should be deeply fragrant, etc…

    The US went for quantity over quality, its to bad because even so farming is not glamorous its one of the most honorable job you can do for sociaty.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. tnwahm says:

    I pray that none of those sick go thru what my dd did when she caught e coli.

    Like

    • fred says:

      try amoebic disyentary with a side of worm parasites. Very common in centro America. You remember what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. You can say that after having those two. Yes they can be passed on……..

      Like

      • tnwahm says:

        My dd spent 16 days in the hospital with 8 of them being in ICU. She came out in kidney failure and spent 9 months on dialysis. She had a kidney transplant and will have to take anti-rejection meds for life. We almost lost her.

        Like

  22. NeverTooLate says:

    Is it coincidence there’s an ad for disposable diapers under the final photo of the post? Hmmm…..

    Like

  23. goodoldboy66 says:

    Food microbiologists will sort or have a good lead on the epidemiology of this already.

    Multiple restaurant locations within a concentrated ‘break out timing’ points me down the supply chain away from individual food handlers per se at the counterspace.

    Looking across and down the supply chain >
    1. Grower/ harvester – likely initial contamination source of a ‘lot’ of produce. Possibly inadequate rinsing/ washing (too short time or with low concentration) or completely unwashed leaving microorganisms VIABLE.
    2. Transportation (farm to warehouse), storage (warehouse), transport (WH to restaurant), storage (restaurant) – lower probability contamination source, more likely produce was not stored at correct temperature (thermal abuse) long enough for viable microorganisms to logarithmically reproduce to a level capable of causing sickness.
    3. Restaurant Counterspace – possible produce was not kept at correct temperature (thermal abuse) long enough for viable microorganisms to logarithmically reproduce to a level capable of causing sickness.

    NOW, SD’s hypothesis “The problem with the current outbreak may be the structural flaw within food handling processes of the restaurant chain’s business model” – (which flaw in the model is not explicitly defined) COULD definitely come into play IF it can be proven that the restaurant chain was: (1) intentionally sourcing from a lower cost (read disreputable) or careless grower (how many ‘lots’ of produce do you think receive marginal washing EVERY DAY?!), (2) intentionally mismanaging delivery or storage temperatures (intentionally not kept under control to lower cost) and (3) lax restaurant level practices contributed to the outbreak.

    The cause is the result of weak link(s) in the supply chain which compond one another. Chipotle SHOULD have strong, verified food safety requirements (i.e., COLD CHAIN, HACCP, Approved Suppliers (of produce, transportation and storage) and strong food safety practices in-house which offer overlapping protection. That said, it only takes a single mistake along the supply chain to start the ball rolling and wreak major havoc. Typically it is a food handler with poor hygiene habits ONE TIME which causes illness. In this case, due to my earlier statement ‘Multiple restaurant locations within a concentrated ‘break out timing’ points’ this was not a case of server contamination.

    Like

  24. Nanny G says:

    When we lived in CA we could get great Mexican food from clean places.
    Then we moved to Utah.
    It isn’t the clean that’s the issue.
    Its the bland foods that 1/2 the population insists on.
    So, I leaned to make my own favorites…..
    Carnitas, tostada grandes, enchaladas, chile rellanos, etc.
    I clean, clean and clean all fresh veggies and fruits.
    That is the key.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. georgiafl says:

    My experience with Chipolte in Gainesville, FL was bad. I had taken my adult daughter with disability to a medical appointment at UFL/Shands and we were enjoying our meal when the MANAGER came out to talk with the other employees and suddenly blew up one of their brown bags and popped it. She was startled, jumped, spilled her wine and salsa all over the floor and herself.

    We were close to the counter, so they could see what happened. No one came to help me clean up. No one apologized. They, rather reluctantly, did give me more salsa after I went to the counter, complained and demanded more salsa. They were sleazy looking (tats, piercings, long hair, etc.) with that ‘attitude’ and the manager was a big burly bully type. The attitude of the place is ‘we are too cool to care.’ Excellence and customer service were not in their vocabulary.

    Needless to say, Chipolte will get no more money from me.

    Like

  26. The San Bernadino shooter was, at one time, a health inspector. Have the authorities even considered that a terrorist in a similar position could have caused this?

    Like

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