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QSR: Chipotle to Pay Largest Food Safety Fine on Record

The brand owes $25 million in fines for cases between 2015 and 2018.

Even before the coronavirus crisis, Chipotle has been having a rough few years. Starting in 2015, the fast-casual brand endured a series of high-profile setbacks caused by lapses in food safety protocols resulting in sick customers. 

But the biggest impact of those violations may just be arriving now, five years after a food-borne illness was first linked to the restaurant chain.

QSR Magazine is reporting that Chipotle will pay a $25 million fine for food safety violations resulting in customer illnesses between 2015 and 2018. According to the Department of Justice, that is the largest fine ever levied for a food safety case.

The fast-casual chain was charged with adulterating food in violation of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. To avoid conviction, Chipotle agreed to the $25 million fine and to implement an improved food safety program and work with the Food Safety Council to “evaluate the company’s food safety audits, restaurant staffing, and employee training, among other areas, to mitigate the issues that led to the outbreaks.”

Since 2015, the FDA has traced back more than 1,000 illnesses to food safety violations at Chipotle restaurants.

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