The fear of eating at Chipotle may soon be over. An E. coli outbreak that affected 53 people linked to Chipotle locations in nine states in December is believed to be over. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention may declare the end of the outbreak Monday, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The CDC may not issue a cause for the contamination, however. Chipotle faced upheaval from customers and Wall Street investors. The restaurant chain's price on the New York Stock Exchange has fallen from $624 to $452 per share over the last three months. That price is about 40 percent below the high over the 52-week period.
Chipotle was hit by a lawsuit at the end of 2015 for failing to disclose information about concerns around food safety. The civil lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of investors who acquired shares from February 2015 to January 2016, Reuters reported.
The majority of cases took place in Washington and Oregon in October. Cases also appeared in California, Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, New York, Ohio and Pennsylvania. Some of the people reportedly sickened had eaten at Chipotle. Others were identified as being affected by the same strain of E. coli, according to the CDC.
The E. coli outbreak caused the closure of several stores in order to meet with CDC testing. The negative publicity also may have damaged the company’s sales nationwide and could result in poor fourth-quarter earnings. Chipotle announced that all restaurants would close on Feb. 8 for food safety meetings.
Chipotle reports earnings on Tuesday.