The problem with reports of illness caused by Chipotle — substantiated or not — is that they're immediately believable given the chain's history.
— Kristen Hawley
Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. suffered its worst stock decline in more than a month on a report of a possible illness outbreak in Los Angeles, renewing fears about the burrito chain’s food-safety crisis.
The local health department’s Acute Communicable Disease Control unit is investigating illnesses tied to a location at 4550 West Pico Blvd. in Los Angeles, according to Business Insider. Chris Arnold, a spokesman for Chipotle, said the company is aware of reports of sickness on user-generated websites but not of any complaints made to local health officials.
“As a precautionary measure, we have implemented heightened preventative procedures at this restaurant, which we do as a matter of policy if we ever receive reports of illness (even if they are not substantiated),” he said in an email to Bloomberg.
Chipotle has struggled to bounce back from an E. coli crisis in 2015 that sickened customers around the U.S. This year, a norovirus incident in Virginia and a viral video of mice at a Dallas location sparked a fresh round of negative headlines.
The latest report sent the shares down as much as 3.4 percent to $302.60, marking the biggest intraday drop since Nov. 13. Even before the decline, the stock had fallen 17 percent this year.
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