Just when everything started to look up for Chipotle, this happens.
A location in Sterling, Virginia was closed after multiple reports were posted to the crowdsourced food poisoning reporting site iwaspoisoned.com. Eight different reports were filed against the restaurant detailing 13 illnesses and at least two hospitalizations.
Jim Marsden, Chipotle’s executive director of food safety, told Business Insider that they were aware of the outbreak, had notified local health officials, and “are working with health authorities to understand what the cause may be and to resolve the situation as quickly as possible.” While many pathogens and microbes that cause food poisoning have similar symptoms, Marsden did suggest that norovirus was the causative agent for the reported illnesses.
“The reported symptoms are consistent with norovirus. Norovirus does not come from our food supply, and it is safe to eat at Chipotle.”
Norovirus causes symptoms like projectile vomiting, extreme stomach cramps, dehydration, and diarrhea. These develop within 12-48 hours of ingesting the virus, but those who get sick typically recover within 1-3 days. Outbreaks are typically caused by improper sanitary practices from food handlers, such as an employee not washing their hands properly after using the bathroom.
Regarding this particular outbreak, the restaurant affected has been closed and will reopen after a full sanitation cleanup. The financial impact this will have on Chipotle, however, is just starting to rear its ugly head.
Chipotle’s stock has already plummeted over $26 a share today (a staggering 6.4% drop) due to reports of the outbreaks spreading like wildfire. It’s unknown exactly how much more it will drop, but for a brand that was winning back customers and starting to gain footing again, this is a devastating blow.