I wavered as to what forum was best for this, but I put it in here so that we can talk about Chipotle’s food if we wish.
• I think Monsanto is a big, evil company. Like most such companies, it is most likely not run by supervillains cackling and rubbing their hands as they concoct their plots but instead by your typical executive types, who think of themselves as good people and are particularly adept at cognitive dissonance. Of course, there’s always room for a sociopath or two in such organizations, and illegal things occur all the time. But it usually doesn’t involve straight up could-kill-people type shit.
• I’m not really into Chipotle’s food.
• I don’t find GMOs frightening. My concern is more about losing our food traditions and heritage, but I don’t think there’s much that can be done to stem the tide of GMOs.
• I find most conspiracy theories to be stupid, but I agree with the psychological take that people get into them in order to feel empowered. People would rather imagine someone bad at the world steering wheel than accept that pretty much no one is driving the bus at all. (People feel empowered by such theorizing because they then feel that the cause of the problem is identified and there is someone specific to blame, even if their names are not known.)
The Monsanto/Chipotle conspiracy idea is dumb. Here’s a typical writeup:
Here’s why this idea is so dumb:
• Surely Monsanto knows it already has a PR problem, and I think there are people there smart enough to guess that Monsanto could potentially be blamed for such an outbreak of foodborne illness, even if it did a great job of covering its tracks.
• Chipotle is small fry, not worth attacking in such a manner. The reward for success in this case is low. OTOH, if Monsanto were to get caught, it would be the ultimate PR disaster and they would be sued for an astronomical amount of money. The risk associated with failure is massive, so the whole risk-reward thing isn’t adding up at all.
• The outbreaks have occurred in a large geographical area. That’s a pretty huge covert operation and would involve a substantial number of people who have to avoid getting caught by employees of Chipotle or its suppliers, be seen on security cameras, etc. Monsanto is not the CIA, and I think such an operation would be difficult even for the CIA to pull off cleanly. (But if one thinks that 9/11 was an inside job and was done with no paper trail, no whistleblowers, etc., then I’m sure it’s not hard to believe.)
• Although it’s been demonstrated that Monsanto has engaged in PR to discredit anti-GMO activists (a legal activity, although their tactics were a bit dirty), I really don’t think they are all that concerned about such activists or restaurants like Chipotle getting rid of GMOs. Why? Because they have products that just sell really well because the fundamental demand for them is quite high. There is a market for cheap, easily grown corn and soybeans because those crops can be used in a ton of shit.
That’s my take on the situation. What I don’t like about conspiracy theorists is that they end up injecting a lot of noise into important conversations. Foodborne illness is serious, the Chipotle outbreak is serious and threatens the future of a once very promising chain. There’s lots to talk about here without having to involve a company that wasn’t involved at all.