by: Elizabeth Balboa, Benzinga Staff Writer
The stock fell about 3 percent Wednesday on news that the Los Angeles Health Department’s Acute Communicable Disease Control unit was investigating a local restaurant allegedly connected to numerous instances of foodborne illness.
Five posts on iwaspoisoned.com claimed seven consumers suffered vomiting, diarrhea and nausea after eating at the Pico Boulevard site around Dec. 13. Chipotle in an emailed statement said:
"We take any report of illness very seriously. We are aware of a few reports (two of which appear to be the same) on user generated reporting sites but there is no clinical validation associated with those reports, and we have not been contacted by customers directly to substantiate these claims. We have also not been made aware of any illness reports made to local health officials. As a precautionary measure, we have implemented heightened preventative procedures at this restaurant, which we do as a matter of policy if we ever receive reports of illness (even if they are not substantiated).
"We are aware of some employees who have been ill, and those employees are being held out of work, as is our policy if employees are sick. We reported those illnesses to local health officials (also a policy) who inspected that restaurant yesterday and were pleased with our operations, and the restaurant remains open for business."
The restaurant remains open during the investigation.
Chipotle has been linked to multiple outbreaks over the last few years. The last such occurrence, which temporarily closed a Virginia site in July, prompted an 8-percent stop in share value.
At time of publication, shares were trading down 2.7 percent at $304.68.
Image credit: Chis Potter, Flickr
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