Chipotle receives subpoena from feds after hundreds got sick in Ohio last year

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(Gray News) – Chipotle Mexican Grill said on Thursday it received a subpoena from federal prosecutors on last year's illness outbreak that left hundreds of people sick after eating at an Ohio restaurant.

It’s the fourth subpoena for the chain that’s part of an ongoing federal investigation that also includes restaurants in Massachusetts, Virginia and California.

It's the fourth subpoena for the chain that's part of an ongoing investigation by the U.S. Attorney's office for the Central District of California that also includes restaurants in Massachusetts, Virginia and California.

"We have fully cooperated and intend to continue to fully cooperate in the investigation. It is not possible at this time to determine whether we will incur, or to reasonably estimate the amount of, any fines or penalties in connection with the investigation pursuant to which the subpoenas were issued," Chipotle said in a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Last August, nearly 700 people reported gastrointestinal problems, like nausea, diarrhea and fever after eating at a Chipotle in Powell, OH.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined the outbreak was caused by clostridium perfringens, a type of bacteria that forms when food is left out at unsafe temperatures. It's one of the most common causes of food poisoning in the United States.

The three earlier subpoenas covered sicknesses linked to its restaurants in Massachusetts, Virginia and California and outbreaks of E. Coli, salmonella and norovirus dating back to late 2015.

In response to numerous outbreaks at the time, Chipotle closed all 2,000 of its stores for several hours on Feb. 8, 2016, for food safety meetings with its employees. The chain's identity is largely based on the use of fresh fixings.

The chain shut down its Powell, OH, store for a day last summer after its outbreak.

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