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Chipotle closes an Ohio restaurant amid food scare

The company’s stock fell 7% after people reported getting sick at a location in a Columbus suburb. The restaurant was set to reopen Tuesday.
Chipotle Mexican Grill

Seven people have reported to local health authorities that they were sickened after eating at a Chipotle Mexican Grill in a Columbus, Ohio, suburb, leading the company to temporarily shut down the restaurant.

More than 170 people reported getting ill after eating at the restaurant in Powell, Ohio, on the crowdsourced food safety website iwaspoisoned.com on Tuesday morning following media reports of the closure late Monday.

Chipotle’s stock plunged 7% in morning trading.

“The local health department has informed us of two customer complaints of illness at one restaurant in Powell,” the company’s chief communications officer, Laurie Schalow, said in a statement Tuesday. “We acted quickly and closed this single restaurant out of an abundance of caution yesterday. We are working with the local health department and we plan to reopen this restaurant today.”

Health inspectors out of Delaware County, Ohio, were notified on Sunday that five people were sickened with nausea, cramping and diarrhea roughly 10 to 20 hours after eating at the location.

The health department received another report Monday that two more people experienced similar symptoms after eating meals from the location, according to location inspection reports.

Chipotle closed the restaurant after receiving reports of customers getting ill, while some employees called in sick Sunday and Monday.

According to the inspection report, the company voluntarily closed the location, deep-cleaned work areas and removed all open and exposed foods.

Chipotle is also using ozone treatment to help with sanitizing, and the report said that the restaurant does a daily employee health check to ensure no workers are experiencing symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea or nausea.

The report indicated that no employees were working while sick, according to the daily employee health check.

The inspection report found no violations of food safety standards.

The report comes as Chipotle works to recover from a diminished image following a series of food safety scares in 2015 that sent the chain’s sales reeling—ultimately leading to an overhaul of executive staff and a complete change in operations as those sales struggled to recover.

Last year, a norovirus incident sickened 130 people who ate at a Chipotle restaurant in Sterling, Va., sending the company’s sales and stock price reeling.

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