Sick Chipotle workers prompt scrutiny of California store

MarketsAssociated Press

Health officials are investigating a Chipotle restaurant in Los Angeles after the burrito chain reported that some of its workers were ill with nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The company has struggled to win back customers after previous food safety issues.

Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold confirmed Wednesday that the company had reported the illnesses to local health officials and said the employees are being held out of work. The restaurant was inspected Tuesday and remains open for business, Arnold said.

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The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health said it did not receive any reports from other Chipotle locations and it is working to determine the cause of illness. Chipotle said it is aware of only a few reports of customer illnesses from "user-generated reporting sites."

Chipotle saw its sales plunge after an E. coli outbreak in 2015. Last summer, a Chipotle in Virginia had to close temporarily after diners fell ill. The company said afterward it believed an employee was working while sick with what health officials think was norovirus, a leading cause of illnesses from contaminated food.

Shares in Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. fell nearly 5 percent to close at $298.67 on Wednesday. That's less than half of what they were at their 2015 peak, before the E. coli outbreak.