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Chipotle's stock is down after claims of food poisoning incidents in Manhattan

July 07,2016 19:09

"We are aware of the post made on Twitter, however there have been no reports of illnesses at any of our New York restaurants," Chipotle spokesperson Chris Arnold told Business Insider. "Moreover, we have excellent health department scores throughout ...and more »



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Chipotle's stock is falling, after two tweets about another
potential E. coli incident at the chain. 

The burrito chain's stock fell as much as 3.5% on Thursday
morning, after a Twitter user reported that someone had
gotten sick after eating at a Manhattan location of the
chain. 

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"My editor ended up in urgent care after being deathly ill
all night from eating at Chipotle's," reads
the tweet, from Eric Van Lustbader. 

Van Lustbader further said that his editor spent seven
hours in the emergency room, with doctors surmising that the
illness could be traced to unsanitary food handling. 

Some Twitter users, noting the drop in Chipotle stock,
accused Van Lustbader of attempting to disparage Chipotle
and purposefully influence the market. He defended
himself, saying he was simply discussing his friend's health,
calling the fall in Chipotle's stock an unintended consequence he
had not even considered. 

While it appears that a single tweet was responsible
for the stock's original drop, another Twitter user replied
to the tweet to report a similar incident. 

The illness is at this time unconfirmed, with no official
reports of Chipotle-related illnesses. 

"We are aware of the post made on Twitter, however there
have been no reports of illnesses at any of our New York
restaurants," Chipotle spokesperson Chris
Arnold told Business Insider. "Moreover, we have excellent health
department scores throughout the city, and we continue to have
the highest standards of food safety in our
restaurants." 

The reaction shows just how susceptible Chipotle currently is to
concerns about food safety. Chipotle's same-store
sales dropped nearly 30% in the first quarter of the year, after
an E. coli outbreak in late 2015 sickened more than 50
people in 14 states. Revenue dropped 23.4%, to
$834.5 million.

While regulators gave Chipotle an all clear in
February of this year, the chain has had a difficult time
convincing customers to return.

Chipotle has spent the last months
implementing preventative measures to make sure the
chain never faces a similar crisis again, changing
food preparation, rolling out new safety
measures, and
hiring food-safety experts. Another outbreak, after these
extreme preventative measures, would raise serious questions
about the chain's ability to regain customers'
trust. 

In an attempt to bring customers back to the
chain, Chipotle has spent $70 million on promotions, hoping the draw
of free burritos could convince Americans that the chain
is once again safe to eat. In June, the chain launched its

first rewards program ever and announced plans to

add chorizo to the menu in the fall. 

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