Woe is Chipotle. The burrito joint recently took another poisonous public relations blow. According to Eater.com, reports of food poisoning from Chipotle in the New York City area were actually first broken on Twitter earlier this month.
“This Chipotle thing is still ongoing. My editor ended up in urgent care after being deathly ill all night from eating at Chipotle’s,” wrote author Eric Van Lustbader on his Twitter account. He followed up later on with another Tweet stating: “She. Was sent to the ER, spent 7hrs there. Bacteria found. Drs surmise from unsan food handling. In UC to get 2 liters fluid”
Food poisoning itself isn’t all that uncommon. In fact, about one out of six Americans (about 48 million people overall) gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die from foodborne diseases annually.
Another Twitter user, James Chu, added support to the accusation later that day, tweeting ‘at’ Van Lustbader:
“I was also sick all weekend after eating Chipotle in Manhattan. Ate at Chipotle’s 56th street location…,” said Chu.
The incident quickly garnered mainstream attention from the online community, which subsequently sent the company’s stock downward as a result. According to Business Insider, Chipotle’s stock price fell by at least 3.5% that same day.
For their part, Chipotle played coy about the situation when reached for comment by Eater.com.
“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 said via email. “Moreover, we have excellent health department scores throughout the city, and we continue to have the highest standards of food safety in our restaurants.”
Whether it was a case of unfortunate timing or actual mishandling of food is up for debate, but one thing’s for sure. If Chipotle wants to reclaim their position as one of the country’s leading eateries, they may have an uphill battle when it comes to getting people to consistently trust their product.