Chipotle stock drops 6% on new illness report

20 July, 2017, 17:48 | Author: Hope Soto
  • Why Analysts Expect Chipotle’s EBIT Margins to Rise in 2Q17

The reported symptoms are consistent with norovirus, said Marsden.

The eight instances reported to iwaspoisoned.com, a site that lets customers anonymously report illness after eating at restaurants, all included stomach cramps, dizziness, and vomiting. The Loudoun County Health Department reported Wednesday that almost 40 people were sickened by the virus.

Chipotle executive director of food safety, Jim Marsden, notes, "We are working with health authorities to understand what the cause may be and to resolve the situation as quickly as possible". The local health department is investigating the cause of the illness.

This isn't the first time the fast-food chain has dealt with reports of an illness scandal. That same year it hit an even larger group of people - at least 189 - at a restaurant in Simi Valley, Calif.

Norovirus is different from E. coli, the bacteria that led to a widespread outbreak at Chipotle restaurants in 14 states two years ago. In December 2015, almost 120 Boston College students fell sick after a norovirus outbreak at a restaurant close to campus.

Since then, the chain has worked diligently to regain their customer's trust.

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Chipotle said norovirus doesn't come from its food supply, but company shares fell more than 4 percent Tuesday, underscoring its vulnerability following its food scares in 2015.

BOSTON, MA - DECEMBER 08: A sign showing that the Chipotle Mexican Grill seen at 1924 Beacon St.is closed on December 8, 2015 in Boston, Massachusetts.

After the release of the information, the company saw its worst stock decline in seven months.

We believe these advancements, among others, have put us on the path to industry leadership while we continually strive to find new and innovative ways to ensure that our restaurants are safe.

It was not clear how many people became sick or whether they were customers or employees. Chipotle restaurant workers fill orders.

While the norovirus at one location is not that significant overall, there is much more uncertainty now as a reasonable probability exists that the media coverage will be stronger than the severity of the sickness incident and will create new weakness in same-store sales, expanding the downside risk, said one Wall Street strategist.

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