Chipotle's Facing a Criminal Investigation For a Norovirus Outbreak

Chipotle hasn't been doing too hot recently. NPR reports that the fast food chain saw sales drop 14.6 percent during the last quarter of 2015 after multiple outbreaks of foodborne illness. Outbreaks of E. coli, salmonella and norovirus have been linked to the company's food. Remember last month when well over 100 Boston College students got sick after eating at the local Chipotle? And...that burrito bowl with guac doesn't look so good anymore.


The company is now coming under fire from the government for an outbreak in Southern California. Last August, a Chipotle branch in Simi Valley, Calif. infected 234 people with norovirus, which causes cramps, diarrhea and vomiting. The virus is spread through casual contact or by eating contaminated food, making the restaurant a super easy target. After the outbreak, the Chipotle branch briefly closed its store. The company has since received a subpoena. The store is required to release "a broad range of documents" relevant to the outbreak to the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Central District of California and the Food and Drug Administration's Office of Criminal Investigations. 

So far, not much detail regarding the source of these outbreaks have been disclosed. Could the outbreaks have to do with Chipotle's supply chain? Regardless, it seems that while Chipotle has apologized, it hasn't taken enough measures to guarantee its future customers won't become sick, leaving room for the federal authorities to step in. We'll have to see what they decide Chipotle should do next.