The Feds Are Now Investigating Chipotle Over That Nasty Norovirus Outbreak

Shalan Stewart/ZUMA

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Its plummeting stock price wasn’t the only dismal year-end news for Chipotle in 2015.

The once hugely popular burrito chain revealed on Wednesday that the company was also served with a grand jury subpoena last month to investigate the nasty norovirus outbreak that started at a Simi Valley, California, restaurant in August.

That outbreak caused about 100 people to suffer gastrointestinal distresswith everything from diarrhea to vomiting. 

According to a company memo released on Wednesday, Chipotle said the US Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, along with the Federal Drug Administration’s criminal investigation’s office, has requested the company “produce a broad range of documents” related to the California incident. Chipotle said it intended to fully cooperate in the probe.

News of the subpoena comes on the heels of multiple similar outbreaks all linked to restaurants in the chain around the country, including an E. coli outbreak that affected more than 50 people in the Midwest and another norovirus outbreak that sickened 80 people in Boston. 

In the same company memo, Chipotle said the company’s stocks were down a staggering 30 percent in December.

“Future sales trends may be significantly influenced by further developments,” the company added.

For more on burrito safety and how to avoid potential outbreaks, check out our helpful charts here.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

We Recommend

Latest