Following successive food poisoning outbreaks last year, Chipotle is closing its stores for a few hours next month to talk about food safety.
Chris Arnold, the company's spokesman, said the meeting would happen Feb. 8 and involve all staff. A range of issues will be covered.
"We want to thank our teams for all of their hard work, to discuss some of the changes we are making to enhance food safety, to talk about the restaurants role in all of that and to answer questions from employees," he said in an email.
Health officials investigated six outbreaks tied to Chipotle last year involving norovirus, E. coli and salmonella. They included one that started in October in Oregon and Washington and spread to seven other states, sickening more than 50 people by mid-November. In December, about 200 were sickened by norovirus after eating at a Chipotle in Boston. Also in December, federal health officials investigated five cases of E. coli poisoning in Kansas, North Dakota and Oklahoma.
The outbreaks started in July in Seattle where health authorities tracked five illnesses to one store. In August, nearly 100 were sickened by norovirus after eating at an outlet in Simi Valley, California, and in September more than 60 fell ill in Minnesota.
The company's sales slid 30 percent and its stock price plummeted nearly 40 percent. At least nine lawsuits have been filed, including one for Chris Collins, a web developer in Lake Oswego.
Bill Marler, a food safety litigator in Seattle, said more suits are coming.
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"I represent a total of 75 people, but I haven't filed all their lawsuits yet," Marler said.