Chipotle restaurants will pay a $25 million federal fine to settle charges for food poisoning, Bloomberg reports.
The charges are connected to “adulterated food that sickened more than 1,100 people across the United States from 2015 to 2018,” the Department of Justice said in a release, according to CNN.
The adulterated food reportedly led to customers getting a norovirus, which is a contagious pathogen easily transmitted by infected food workers handling ready-to-eat foods, which can lead to diarrhea, vomiting and abdominal cramping, according to Bloomberg.
“Chipotle failed to ensure that its employees both understood and complied with its food safety protocols, resulting in hundreds of customers across the country getting sick,” U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said in the statement, according to Bloomberg.
The record-breaking fine is the largest ever in a food safety case, per CNN.
“This settlement represents an acknowledgment of how seriously Chipotle takes food safety every day and is an opportunity to definitively turn the page on past events and focus on serving our customers real food made with real ingredients that they can enjoy with confidence,” Chipotle Chairman and CEO Brian Niccol said in a statement, according to CNN,
A Food and Drug Administration investigation revealed multiple incidents of Chipotle employees vomiting at work, and then returning to food preparation instead of going home, which violates the company’s policies, according to Time magazine.
Employees felt pressured to work even while sick, Time magazine reports.
At least five different Chipotle restaurants were connected to large-scale norovirus outbreaks between 2015 and 2018, CNN reports.