Chipotle closes restaurant after customer illnesses


Shares of Chipotle Mexican Grill fell more than 5 percent Tuesday on news that the burrito chain closed a restaurant in Ohio following reports of customers becoming ill after eating there.


Last Updated Jul 31, 2018 2:58 PM EDT

Chipotle Mexican Grill closed a restaurant in Ohio after reports of customers becoming ill after eating there — and the news sent shares down more than 5 percent by early afternoon Tuesday.

Local health officials said they were investigating “several possible food-borne illness reports,” and urged anyone who ate at the restaurant between Thursday and Monday and experiencing symptoms such as vomiting to report it.

The burrito chain, which has struggled to restore customer trust after a slew of high-profile safety scares, made the move after multiple people reportedly had taken ill as of Tuesday morning, with the reports coming from, a website that consumers use to file complaints of what they believe to be foodborne illness.

“The local health department has informed us of two customer complaints of illness at one restaurant in Powell, Ohio. We acted quickly and closed this single restaurant out of an abundance of caution yesterday. We are working with the local health department and we plan to reopen this restaurant today,” a Chipotle spokesperson emailed CBS MoneyWatch on Tuesday.

Food safety is an especially sensitive topic at Chipotle which found its brand and stock price battered by a string of lapses in 2015 that included a norovirus outbreak that sickened more than 100 patrons in Boston. Separately, an E. coli outbreak that fall forced the temporary closure of more than 40 restaurants in Oregon and Washington.

Chipotle (CMG) has been making a comeback in recent months, even celebrating National Avocado Day on Tuesday with free guacamole on an entree or as a side order with online or mobile app orders. But its once high-flying stocks is still down about 40 percent from its August 2015 peak of $758. On Tuesday, shares of Chipotle were down more than 5 percent, to $441, in early afternoon trading.

Last summer Chipotle retrained kitchen workers on food-safety issues after identifying a sick employee as causing a norovirus outbreak that prompted the brief closure of a restaurant in Virginia. A sick worker was also believed to be the cause of the Boston outbreak.

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