Chipotle Discloses Follow-Up Subpoena After Va. Illnesses

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — With every table filled inside and outside, the Chipotle Mexican Grill in Market Square was hopping during Wednesday’s lunch hour with a line to the door.

The chain has certainly had its share of foodborne illness misfortunes over the past two years, but that didn’t sway Megan and Josh Calvetti from joining the crowd.

Megan says, “I think it’s just really localized in my mind, it is that particular restaurant and not necessarily all Chipotles.”

In fact, the Chipotle issues have been localized in California, Boston and Virginia. But it’s been enough for the the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Central California and the Food and Drug Administration’s Criminal Investigation unit to look into the chain.

A subpoena has been issued for information regarding the latest Norovirus outbreak in Sterling, Virginia, as investigators probe to see if there has been criminal misconduct in the chain.

“For me, I don’t typically worry too much about it until I see an outbreak in Pittsburgh, and then I think maybe I’ll give it a little pass for now,” Josh Calvetti says.

That was the prevailing attitude among the lunch crowd.

Afton England took it a step further, “If it’s a food handling issue, and the places here are doing a good job, then they should not be penalized for it.”

The Allegheny County Health Department’s website that lists all restaurants and their current status has the Chipotles in our area in the green.

That’s not to say the regular inspections haven’t found issues like food at improper temperatures, garbage issues, or an employee not following proper glove procedures. But those violations are scattered among the restaurants and don’t rise to the level of needing to warn the public.

“You’re going to get that. There’s always human error and that kind of stuff,” Megan Calvetti says. “It’s still a person who is serving you food and everything is not going to be perfect all the time.”

The Health Department said in a statement today:

“ACHD’S Food Safety Program has not had any issues with Chipotle restaurants in the county.”

There is no word on how long the criminal investigation will last. Chipotle says it will fully cooperate.

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