Chipotle Mexican Grill has decided to pay a reported $25 million settlement to settle federal charges over food safety violations, the Department of Justice has said.
The allegations applied to “adulterated food that, from 2015 to 2018, sickened more than 1,100 people across the United States,” the department said in a statement.
The fine is the biggest “in a food-safety case ever levied,” the department said.
“Chipotle refused to guarantee that its workers both knew and adhered to the food safety standards, resulting in hundreds of people around the country getting sick,” U.S. Attorney Nick Hanna said.
The restaurant chain has since committed to introduce a “comprehensive enforcement plan for food safety,” the department said.
Chipotle said it has “introduced clear protocols and processes on food safety to also improve its current activities.”
“This deal is an acknowledgment of how seriously Chipotle takes food protection every day. And is an opportunity to turn the page squarely. On past incidents and concentrate on delivering our consumers healthy food made from fresh ingredients that they will trustfully enjoy”. Chipotle Chairman and CEO Brian Niccol said in a statement.
The Department of Justice said the allegations originated from coronavirus cases. An “extremely infectious pathogen readily spread by contaminated food staff handling ready-to-eat products and their ingredients.”