Chipotle (Nyse: CMG) Shares Decline As Food Sickness Hits Again - Tim Bellamy

Eileen GuzmanAug 02, 2018

The burrito chain briefly closed down one of its restaurants in Powell, Ohio Monday after a number of customers became sick. Results from test were pending, the health department said. "We acted quickly and closed this single restaurant out of an abundance of caution and we are working with the local health officials to reopen this restaurant as soon as possible", said Laurie Schalow, a spokeswoman for Chipotle.

Reports of illness first surfaced Sunday on the website iwaspoisoned.com, and surged into the hundreds following Business Insider's report. People reported symptoms such as vomiting, nausea, and fever to the website.

OH health officials have launched an investigation of Chipotle Mexican Grill after multiple cases of illnesses have been reported from customers who ate at two restaurants in the state.

Posting on a crowdsourcing site is not the correct protocol for reporting food poisoning incidents, Delaware General Health District's Whittaker said.

Traci Whittaker, a public information officer, said the department wasn't aware of the pathogen that caused the illnesses, according to Reuters.

The recent crisis follows Chipotle's efforts to rebuild its reputation following norovirus outbreaks in locations throughout the nation.

As for the stock, the drop in it isn't that shocking, because Chipotle has had a big price rally in the past few months, much of which was likely fueled by short covering. Delaware County, Ohio, health officials said they are investigating the potential outbreak that may be linked to the restaurant in Powell over the last week. The most serious was an E. coli outbreak in 2015 that sickened 60 customers in 14 states.

In 2016, Chipotle was forced to shutter about 2,000 locations and carry out a food-safety training program.

It is also the first major food safety issue that new CEO Brian Niccol has to deal with as he works to bring back customers to the once red-hot Mexican food chain.

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