Chipotle admits burrito bowls might not be safe to eat

Guacamole costs extra, and you might also get food poisoning.

Associated Press reported that Chipotle agreed to pay a record $25 million fine over tainted food issues from 2015 to 2018. The charges pressed against the fast-food chain claimed it caused more than 1,100 U.S. customers to get sick.

Chipotle admitted that it was poor safety practices that sickened customers — food was kept at incorrect temperatures, which encouraged pathogen growth. The company said that it is working to retrain employees on food safety practices and is reducing the number of employees who touch food before getting to the customer.

The case is not related to Chipotle’s E. coli outbreak in 2016.

An investigation conducted by the Food and Drug Administration found that for a period of time in 2015, there were outbreaks of a norovirus stemming from employees mishandling food and being sick themselves, said Associated Press.

It started in Simi Valley when 234 Chipotle employees and customers reported getting sick. According to the investigation, it started after an employee had vomited at work and was subsequently sent home, but there was never a report filed internally.

In December 2015, 141 people reported getting sick after visiting a Chipotle franchise in Boston. One apprentice manager was ordered by a regional manager to continue working after he had vomited during work — the incident was also not reported internally. The apprentice ended up packing a catering order for the Boston College basketball team, sickening several players.

Then in 2017, 135 people fell ill in Sterling, Va. and another 28 people in Los Angeles fell ill later that year.

In July 2018, nearly 650 people in Powell, Ohio got food poisoning at Chipotle and the bacteria found to have caused the illness was specific to food kept at improper temperatures.

It’s a record-setting fine for a food safety case.

“This settlement represents an acknowledgment of how seriously Chipotle takes food safety every day and is an opportunity to definitively turn the page on past events,” Brian Niccol, Chipotle’s chairman and chief executive officer, said, according to Associated Press.

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