Chipotle fined record-setting $25 million for allegedly sickening 1,100 customers with norovirus

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Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. will pay a $25 million criminal fine to resolve allegations by federal prosecutors that its food sickened more than 1,100 people across the U.S. from 2015 to 2018.

It’s the largest fine ever imposed in a food-safety case, according to a statement [April 21] by the U.S. attorney’s office in Los Angeles.

The criminal charges pertain in part to norovirus outbreaks at Chipotle restaurants. The highly contagious virus can be transmitted by infected food workers handling ready-to-eat foods and their ingredients, according to the statement. It can cause severe symptoms, including diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal cramping.

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Prosecutors alleged that four norovirus outbreaks were caused by employees showing up to work sick, in violation of company policy, and by food products being stored at the wrong temperatures.

Related article:  Foodborne illnesses strike almost 48 million Americans annually. Do we need better food safety testing?

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