CHICAGO — Chipotle Corp., the nation’s largest restaurant chain, on Wednesday said it has paid more than $1.4 billion in fines and suspensions stemming from a $1 billion food safety scandal that has led to a $100 million fine from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and dozens of other investigations.
In the second half of fiscal year 2016, Chipotle paid more for fines and penalties than the company paid in revenue, which the company attributed to the investigation into the tainted chicken-liver products.
Chipotles total fine and suspension amounts in the second quarter were $1,079 million, $632 million, and $711 million, the company said in a statement.
“As we continue to improve, we expect our compliance program to be more effective in the future, which will improve the overall performance of Chipotle’s food safety programs,” Chipotle CEO Steve Ells said in the statement.
Chipotle, based in Austin, Texas, has more than 700 restaurants and more than 500,000 employees worldwide.
The company was fined for failing to follow the company’s Food Safety Program and failing to report a significant increase in reported food-borne illnesses linked to contaminated chicken, the USDA said.
The agency also levied a $5 million civil fine for failing not to take corrective action to prevent the outbreak of the bacteria that causes food poisoning.
During the first quarter, the U,S.
Food and Drug Administration warned Chipotle restaurants that their food safety measures should be effective to prevent foodborne illness.
After the investigation, the Food and Food Safety Agency ordered Chipotle to improve the food safety program and suspend or recall certain products.
Chipotles chief executive, Steve Ell, said that his company had “changed how we do business, we have made changes to our processes, we’ve put in place additional safeguards.”
Chiposaur chicken was found to contain salmonella and salmonellosis bacteria that cause food poisoning and outbreaks, including salmonecaemia.
Chipots chicken, which was produced by an independent factory, was also found to have a higher than average level of salmoneella and salmela, a bacteria found in food contaminated with salmonecemia.
While Chipotle has already paid a $2.7 billion fine and a $8.9 million penalty to the federal government for violating the Food Safety Act, the investigation is still ongoing, the agency said.