Chipotle Mexican Grill, the Mexican fast-line restaurant chain, is undergoing a criminal federal investigation due to its numerous outbreaks of food-borne illness. In particular, this investigation started due to an outbreak at one of Chipotle’s California locations.
Chipotle’s Simi Valley location in California is where the August outbreak occurred and caused 189 customers and 18 employees to become sick. Authorities found multiple types of meat being held at indecent room temperatures for such foods after the outbreak. A subpoena from a federal grand jury was disclosed on Wednesday 1/6/2016 in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
The Drug Administration and the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California will together be conducting the investigation. In the filing with the SEC, Chipotle fully agreed to cooperate in the investigation and stated that they will provide any extra information they can to benefit the case and prevent this from ever happening again. Though, at this point it is unclear if criminal violations or charges will be pursued.
In the past several months nearly 60 customers from 12 states have become ill from E. Coli bacteria linked to contaminated food at Chipotle. E. Coli causes abdomen pain, diarrhea, and can even cause kidney failure. At this time the actual source of contamination is still unknown. Another outbreak was reported at Chipotle in Boston in December. Over 150 people became ill in that outbreak, from a commonly transmitted germ called Norovirus. These outbreaks have hurt Chipotle’s sales drastically causing sales to drop by 15%.

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