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Business Insider has a story about how Chipotle's newest food safety issues - two confirmed cases of norovirus in customers who ate at one of its Virginia stores, plus rodents falling from the ceiling of one of its Texas units - have "renewed speculation about a conspiracy theory that Chipotle is the target of corporate sabotage."

This theory "claims that parties shorting Chipotle's stock — meaning they stand to gain financially when the chain's shares plummet — orchestrated the illness outbreaks by planting harmful bacteria in Chipotle restaurants."

"Chipotle short-sellers saw their ambitions rewarded with $55 million in less than one day, thanks to this most recent incident," Aaron Allen, a principal at the restaurant-consulting firm Aaron Allen & Associates, wrote on LinkedIn this week. "Though it might seem far-fetched, there are some facts that suggest the near-endless food safety scandals plaguing Chipotle belie something more sinister than simple misfortune."
KC's View:
To its credit Chipotle's leadership has not adopted this theory as a defense, and in fact has said that it "did not see any evidence to support them."

Which is the right thing to do. Because unless there is real evidence of a conspiracy - and I'm talking signed confessions from rats sporting Texas accents - this strikes me as a foolish path to travel. There probably were a lot of folks shorting Chipotle stock, if only because another outbreak seemed inevitable.