Chipotle slides following report of customers getting ill at an Ohio restaurant

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Comparatively, Chipotle Mexican Grill has a beta of 0.5, indicating that its stock price is 50% less volatile than the S&P 500. "We are not aware of any confirmed foodborne illness cases, and we are cooperating with the local health department".

"We acted quickly and closed this single restaurant out of an abundance of caution yesterday".

"Our protocols identified a handful of illness reports at one restaurant in Powell, OH", Chipotle spokeswoman Laurie Schalow told CNBC. "If this story gains traction, it might have more serious implications for the stock".

Just when it seemed like the company had moved past its illness epidemic, more than 170 people say they got sick after eating at a location in Ohio.

Although there is now no indication that the outbreak has affected consumers in other states, Chipotle's stock fell almost 4 percent after news of the closing of the Powell location. The restaurant was shut down on Monday after an investigation was launched, but it's expected to reopen Tuesday afternoon.

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Chipotle has been trying to overcome a tarnished reputation tied to multiple food safety incidents at its restaurants. The company offers three days of paid sick leave each year to all of its employees, a spokesperson said.

With nothing confirmed, the latest scenario involving Chipotle sounds to Marler like the norovirus, which he describes as both hard to control, as well as in figuring how the spread begins.

In dealing with the negative news from Powell, Ohio, Chipotle drew some empathetic words from Marler, an unlikely source given his past adversarial role in challenging the company in court. The stock has been a Wall Street darling.

It is also the first major food safety issue that new CEO Brian Niccol has to deal with as he works to bring back customers to the once red-hot Mexican food chain.

"It's going to take some time", he said, adding "we are very optimistic about the message we have". "This is a festering wound to brand trust".

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