Just when you thought it was safe to eat at Chipotle, reports have surfaced via Twitter of at least two food poisoning incidents in Manhattan. Business Insider reports that word of the unconfirmed illnesses sent the chain's stock tumbling by as much as 3.5 percent this morning.
Early this morning, author Eric Van Lustbader tweeted that his editor wound up in the ER after eating at a Chipotle in Manhattan; in a followup tweet in response to a user going by the handle @stocktraderMD, he claimed doctors believed the illness stemmed from unsanitary food handling.
This Chipotle thing is still ongoing. My editor ended up in urgent care after being deathly ill all night from eating at Chipotle's.— Eric Van Lustbader (@EVanLustbader) July 7, 2016
@stocktraderMD She. Was sent to the ER, spent 7hrs there. Bacteria found. Drs surmise from unsan food handling. In UC to get 2 liters fluid— Eric Van Lustbader (@EVanLustbader) July 7, 2016
Then, another user chimed in to say he, too, had gotten ill after eating at a Manhattan Chipotle:
@EVanLustbader @ChipotleTweets I was also sick all weekend after eating Chipotle in Manhattan. Ate at Chipotle's 56th street location...— James Chu (@DARTLIFE16) July 7, 2016
Reached for comment, Chipotle spokesperson Chris Arnold said via email, "We are aware of the post made on Twitter, however there have been no reports of illnesses at any of our New York restaurants. Moreover, we have excellent health department scores throughout the city, and we continue to have the highest standards of food safety in our restaurants."
As Business Insider points out, "The [falling stock price] shows just how susceptible Chipotle currently is to concerns about food safety."
While the chain has been doing its damnedest to make headlines for more positive reasons these days — launching a new rewards program, a new menu item (the ill-advised chorizo), and a new ad masquerading as a Pixar-esque short film — the fact remains that lingering food safety concerns are still keeping many away from Chipotle. The company's E. coli and norovirus woes that began last fall sickened dozens of people and resulted in a major sales decline; last month, Chipotle stock hit its lowest point in three years.