Chipotle has been under recent attack in the news media and the courts due to a variety of foodborne illness outbreaks. The most recent lawsuit involves allegations against the company related to a restaurant location in Simi Valley, California. The class-action lawsuit led by consumers alleges the restaurant tried to cover up a norovirus outbreak at that particular location. This outbreak sickened at least 234 people as a result of an infected worker continuing to work there for two days before being diagnosed and before the restaurant closed its doors to customers. While the restaurant may have closed upon notice of customer illness, the corporate office allegedly did not contact health officials or customers to warn them of the dangers. The lawsuit alleges that the restaurant cleaned everything to remove evidence of the norovirus before notifying health officials and that it did so to avoid further damaging its reputation and stock prices that were already suffering from other foodborne illness outbreaks in other parts of the country. Federal officials have launched a criminal investigation into the restaurant chain nationwide. The company vows to make it the safest place to eat and will begin a new marketing campaign in February.
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