A recent norovirus outbreak has revived a Chipotle conspiracy theory.


Chipotle’s stock has plummeted in the past week after a norovirus outbreak has cast doubt on the chain’s nascent recovery.

The outbreak, which sickened more than 100 customers in Virginia, according to reports, has also renewed speculation about a conspiracy theory that Chipotle is the target of corporate sabotage.

The theory first emerged after the 2015 E. coli outbreak tied to Chipotle restaurants in 14 states.

It 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 Monday in a LinkedIn post that was shared by Bloomberg. “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.”

He pointed to past incidents of companies targeted in bizarre plots, including one in 2005 in which a woman planted a severed finger of her husband’s coworker in a cup of Wendy’s chili. She was eventually sentenced to…