Chipotle hasn't been having a very good time with PR as of late. The Tex-Mex giant is going to get a serious investigation from federal authorities after the norovirus broke out at one of its 1,900 restaurant. The restaurant was located in central California, but there are fears it could be elsewhere.
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According to a report by USA Today, the US Attorney's Office for the Central California District alongside the Food and Drug Administration notified the Denver-based Chipotle Mexican Grill that a criminal probe will start after they were served with a subpoena in December 2015. Chipotle's management has said that they will fully cooperate with the joint investigation.
The subpoena ordered that the company must present specific documents that pertain to the response they had to the isolated outbreak of the norovirus that happened at the Simi Valley, California location on August 15, 2015.
So far, authorities haven't determined that there will be any criminal charges to be filed against the chain.
This is the second time in a year that the company has had a food-borne illness outbreak.
"It's never good news for a company when federal prosecutors open a grand jury investigation into its operations, but it's far too early to tell how sustained that interest will be here and what, if any, criminal violations will come to light," observed law professor Daniel C. Richman of Columbia University as quoted saying by NPR.
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The fiasco caused Chipotle sales to shrink as much as 14% in the fourth quarter of 2015, which is the first time that the company's sales have ever done so.