Part of the Center for Disease Control’s job is to inform the public about illness outbreaks. That’s great if you’re a person who doesn’t want to get sick, but not so great if you’re a large public corporation trying to keep sales from flat-lining in the middle of an E.coli scare. And thus we have the beef (hopefully not tainted) between Chipotle and the CDC.
Back in December, lawyers for Chipotle sent a letter to the CDC essentially claiming that federal health organization had gone overboard with all its updates about the ongoing Chipotle health scare, doing more to fan the flames of fear than actually helping to keep the public informed. “We understand the importance of notifying the public of a significant health risk and also understand the importance of proving relevant and meaningful updates when there is an ongoing public health risk. However, each update must stand on its own as to whether there is a significant health risk that necessitates an update to the public,” Chipotle’s letter read. “We are not claiming that the CDC intentionally misrepresented certain information. However, certain web updates actually misinformed the public because they were confusing and unclear.”
As is often the case when you question the government, the CDC wasn’t feelin’ Chipotle’s complaints, and in April, responded with their own letter outlining eight specific responses to points in Chipotle’s letter. As expected for written correspondence between a corporate lawyer and a government bureaucrat, the exchange is far from enthralling, but to paraphrase the CDC: “Hey, we didn’t do anything wrong, unlike you guys who were serving poison food, so how about that?”
Though you can’t necessarily fault Chipotle for trying to defend their business and shareholders, it’s ironic that by complaining to the CDC about how they dragged this whole thing out, the restaurant is once again bringing the food poisoning story back to the top of news feeds. And though, yes, the CDC should have to adhere to a certain decorum, the easiest way to avoid any trouble is to avoid having to deal with them in the first place.
[h/t Food Safety News]