Adams states that he’s observed the recent outbreaks of E.coli in Chipotle restaurants and believes these incidences are not simply unfortunate or “random chance”. He accuses the biotech industry of “unleashing bioterrorism attacks against the only fast food company that has publicly denounced GMOs.”
He references the CDC’s admission that “some of these E.coli outbreaks involve a ‘rare genetic strain’ of E.coli not normally seen in foods”.
Adams continues in his theory, writing: “There is absolutely no question that the biotech industry will resort to ANY activity necessary to destroy food companies that oppose GMOs. And yes, this includes acts of bioterrorism against Chipotle — something that’s ridiculously easy for biotech industry operatives to carry out with simple, low-cost laboratory supplies sold online at places like Amazon.com.”
So convinced that Chipotle is under a corporate sponsored campaign of sabotage, Adams states, “I am now openly encouraging Chipotle’s management to initiate a criminal investigation with the FBI to attempt to identify the sources of this corporate sabotage campaign.”
CDC and FDA Investigations
In December 2015, the CDC press release stated that the multi-state outbreaks of “Shiga toxin-producing Escherichia coli O26” linked to Chipotle Mexican Grill Restaurants were under investigation (2).
The more recent outbreak was different from the previous ones; it contained a “different, rare DNA fingerprint of Shiga toxin-producing E. coli O26 (STEC O26).” The evidence so far pointed to the source of the outbreak likely being a “common meal item or ingredient served at Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurants in several states is a likely source of this outbreak. The investigation has not identified what specific food is linked to illness.”
By December 4, 2015, the CDC reported that 52 people had been infected with the STEC 026 strain, covering nine states. 20 were hospitalized and so far, no related-deaths. The breakout states include:
–> California (3)
–> Illinois (1)
–> Maryland (1)
–> Minnesota (2)
–> New York (1)
–> Ohio (3)
–> Oregon (13)
–> Pennsylvania (1)
–> Washington (27)
One significant fact is that out of the last three reported incidences “only one ill person, whose illness started on November 10, reported eating at Chipotle Mexican Grill in the week before their illness began.”
The FDA is also investigating the E.coli illnesses suffered by Chipotle patrons that began in October 2015 and first reported in November 2015. The FDA website update states that it is working with local and state officials as well as the CDC in the investigation into the second outbreak as well as the first incidences (3).
Reuters reported in December 2015 that the total was 58 people spanning 12 states were reported sick from E.coli outbreaks that were linked to Chipotle (4).
When the first E.coli outbreaks linked to Chipotle occurred, mostly in Washington and Oregon states, the company immediately closed 43 restaurants, later to open them in November 2015.
August 2015: 200 Chipotle Customers Sick from Norovirus
On January 8, 2016, Chipotle announced that the Department of Justice (DOJ) was investigating the August 2015 norovirus (5) outbreak in the California Chipotle restaurant that resulted in 200 customers falling ill (6).
In December, the Central District of California served Chipotle with a “grand jury subpoena” that is part of the DOJ and FDA “criminal investigation”. Those in-the-know suggest that this is an indication that the federal government has “stepped-up enforcement of food safety laws in recent years”.
CNBC reports that “Lawyers have said a federal investigation of the Chipotle outbreak is highly unusual, because past prosecutions involving food borne illnesses have focused on food producers who were the original source of the problems such as farmers or food manufacturers, not the restaurants or stores that sold the products.”
Is this another indication of the federal government’s heightened commitment to food safety or is it something else? Chipotle and an individual(s) could possibly be charged with a felony (intention to mislead or defraud) or a misdemeanor. “Felony or misdemeanor charges” would be made “if ‘adulterated’ food that is harmful to human health or is prepared in unsanitary conditions is introduced across state lines.”
CNBC states that, “Experts say it remains unclear if the law could apply to Chipotle.’” The investigation is for only one restaurant. It could prove that the outbreak was possibly transmitted from one-person-to-another and not the result of “adulterated food”.
Could the DOJ investigation be about something more sinister as Adams suggests? The US Attorney’s LA (Los Angeles) unit investigating the outbreak is “a branch that specializes in environmental and community safety crimes.”