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Feds broaden criminal investigation of Chipotle

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Simultaneous with releasing financial results for 2015, Chipotle revealed this afternoon that federal authorities have broadened a criminal investigation into how the chain handled food contaminations last summer in California.

A new subpoena issued last week seeks three years’ worth of documents and information on “company-wide food safety measures,” Chipotle said in a press release. 

In December, the chain disclosed that a single restaurant in Simi Valley, Calif., was the subject of an investigation about its handling of a norovirus outbreak. Insiders said the chain had run afoul of public-safety protocols by not alerting local health authorities of the problem until after the restaurant had closed, been sanitized and reopened for business. Some 240 people were reportedly sickened by the virus.

No further information was provided in Chipotle’s press release, but the disclosure was enough to throw the company’s stock price into a tailspin even as executives were detailing better-than-expected financial results for 2015.

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