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Chipotle receives another food safety subpoena

The fast-casual chain revealed that it received a request for information regarding last year’s incident in Ohio, sending its shares falling.
Photograph courtesy of Chipotle Mexican Grill

Chipotle Mexican Grill said in securities filings Wednesday that it received a federal subpoena earlier this month regarding a food safety incident in Powell, Ohio, last year.

The subpoena seeks information regarding the incident, in which nearly 700 people were sickened after eating food left at unsafe temperatures.

The company said in an SEC filing that it has “fully cooperated and intends to continue to fully cooperate with the investigation.”

The revelation sent the company’s stock down 7% on Thursday morning.

It’s the fourth such subpoena that Chipotle has received regarding food safety incidents since 2016.

A federal grand jury first issued a subpoena in January 2016 as part of a criminal investigation conducted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Central District of California, following a series of food safety incidents in 2015.

The subpoenas require documents related to companywide food-safety issues dating back to 2013, the company said.

Chipotle has received two additional requests: one in 2017 following an incident at a restaurant in Sterling, Va., and another in 2018 following an incident at a location in Los Angeles.

The subpoena follows a quarter in which Chipotle’s same-store sales rose 9.9%, thanks largely to its digital initiatives, as the company has worked to distance itself from those incidents.

The Ohio incident came as Chipotle has been working to recover lost sales from the aftermath of the initial incidents, which sent the company’s sales and stock price plunging.

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