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chipotle food poisoning store closures

Chipotle closes Ohio restaurant amid food safety concerns

No cases have been verified by health officials; 170 customers complain of illnesses on crowdsourced website

Ohio health officials have launched an investigation of Chipotle Mexican Grill after multiple cases of illnesses have been reported from customers who ate at two restaurants in the state.

The illnesses prompted Chipotle to close at least one restaurant on Monday. That store is expected to reopen today, the company said.

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

A spokeswoman for the Delaware General Health District said the agency is in the “infancy” stages of its investigation. The agency is reviewing cases brought to them, but they have no “lab results” yet, spokeswoman Traci Whittaker told Nation’s Restaurant News today.

In a tweet Tuesday, the agency urged anyone who believes they got sick after eating at a Chipotle between July 26 and July 30 to contact the agency. 

The reported illnesses come only a few days after the Powell store was cited three times for improper food temperatures during a July 26 inspection. The restaurant corrected the violations during the same visit, according to the health inspection report.

Many also reported illnesses on a crowdsourcing website that tracks food poisoning cases across the U.S. Over the last few days, has logged 110 reports citing more than 170 people who got sick eating at two Chipotle restaurants in Ohio.

Patrick Quade, founder of the 9-year-old crowdsourcing website, said the cases have been reported to health officials in Delaware County, Ohio.  He started the site after getting sick at a New York deli.

Posting on a crowdsourcing site is not the correct protocol for reporting food poisoning incidents, Delaware General Health District's Whittaker said.

Chipotle has been trying to overcome a tarnished reputation tied to multiple food safety incidents at its restaurants. The cases, most clustered in 2015, sent Chipotle’s stock and sales into a tailspin. Three years later, the company is still in recovery mode under new CEO Brian Niccol.

In early morning trading, Chipotle’s stock hovered around $436 a share, down about 6 percent from Monday’s closing price.

Contact Nancy Luna at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @FastFoodMaven

Update July 31, 2018: This story has been updated to include additional information about the Chipotle location that was closed Monday.

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