LBN’s Ryan Gaumont reports that Chipotle Mexican Grill was back in the news in connection with a previous outbreak of norovirus (see Sequence Media Group’s December 9 story about the outbreak). The company reported in a securities filing on Wednesday that it had been served in December with a grand jury subpoena seeking information about a norovirus outbreak at the company’s Simi Valley restaurant in August of 2015.
The grand jury subpoena was issued in connection with a criminal investigation being conducted by the U.S. Attorney’s office for the Central District of California. Chipotle says it will cooperate with the investigation.
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention describes norovirus as highly contagious. The Chipotle chain had a series of disease problems with the E. coli virus, then with a norovirus outbreak at a Boston restaurant.
The medical problems have also caused financial problems for the restaurant chain. Chipotle’s sales fell 30% in December. Its fourth quarter sales from restaurants open for a year or more were down 14.6%, considerably more than the company had expected. Shares of Chipotle fell nearly 5% on Wednesday.
In hopes of bolstering its image, Chipotle has taken out full-page newspaper ads apologizing to customers in newspapers around the country. It has also promised to improve food safety at its restaurants.
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