Did you know that the U.S. Attorney’s office, California, in conjunction with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s office of criminal investigations has served Chipotle with a subpoena related to the recent Sterling Virginia Norovirus outbreak. This is part of an ongoing probe.
Chipotle Hit with Subpeona over Latest Food Safety Issue
ft.com (Financial Times) by: Adam Samson, July 26, 2017
US prosecutors have served Chipotle with a subpoena related to a food-safety issue at one of its restaurants this month as part of an ongoing probe into the US burrito chain.The group said in a regulatory filing on Wednesday that it received the subpoena on July 19, “requesting information related to illness incidents associated with a single Chipotle restaurant in Sterling, Virginia.”The US attorney’s office for central California, in conjunction with the US Food and Drug Administration’s office of criminal investigations, initially served Chipotle with a subpoena last January. Chipotle intends to “fully cooperate” with the probe, and added that it is “not possible at this time to determine whether we will incur … any fines or penalties in connection with the investigation pursuant to which the subpoena was issued.”Local health regulators said on Monday that 135 individuals reported falling ill after visiting the Virginia Chipotle restaurant between July 13 – 16.“Two ill patrons have tested positive for the same strain of norovirus. Based on symptoms reported and these preliminary laboratory results, the cause of the outbreak is believed to be norovirus, though the specific source of the norovirus has not yet been identified,” Loudoun County Health Department chief David Goodfriend said.John Hartung, Chipotle’s chief financial officer, said on a call with analysts on Tuesday evening that same-restaurant sales, an important industry metric, had been “negatively affected” by about 5.5 per cent on average over the last several days.He added that “it is too soon to know what enduring impact last week’s events may cause,” but that the group’s “hope is that the impact will fade over the coming weeks and that the marketing and buzz around the queso expanded test will change the narrative and encourage our guests to quickly return to their previous visit frequencies.”Norovirus is a highly-contagious illness that can cause an individual’s stomach or intestines to become inflamed, causing symptoms like stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.Chief executive Steve Ells apologised for the incident and said that it represented a “failure in one restaurant to comply with our procedures used to prevent norovirus.”The latest safety woes have reminded investors of a debacle in 2015 in which 485 people in 13 US states were sickened in outbreaks that were linked to Chipotle’s restaurants.Chipotle had been recovering, and in fact, its quarterly earnings that were disclosed on Tuesday exceeded analyst forecasts. The shares initially climbed, but then came under pressure by Wednesday morning, recently falling 1.3 per cent.