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Chipotle's E. Coli Scare Is Scary News for Investors

Having shot to popularity in the U.S. for its healthier take on fast food -- and on Wall Street for its consistently fast growth -- burrito giant Chipotle (CMG - Get Report) may be showing some vulnerability as it seeks to expand aggressively across the country.

Chipotle closed 43 of its restaurants, or about 2.3% of its total U.S. locations, in Oregon and Washington this weekend due to a reported outbreak of E. coli. The Oregon Health Authority said three cases of E. coli in Oregon and at least 19 in Washington have been linked to eating at Chipotle restaurants since Oct. 14, with ages ranging from 11 to 64.

According to a news release from the Washington State Department of Health, eight of the cases have resulted in hospitalization. The statement said that local...