In the fall of 2015, some Chipotle restaurants in the US were hit with an E. Coli outbreak. In just a matter of months, net income dropped 44 percent and sales plunged 15 percent. But Chipotle insisted that it was getting a bad rap unjustifiably. And with that in mind, I submitted a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for internal talking points at the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The talking points are from roughly November 2015 and unfortunately don't give us much of an idea of what conversations were happening inside the FDA. Why? The agency has claimed the B5 redaction, which allows them to claim that internal conversations are private, even if they're made by the government. Sometimes agencies won't claim this redaction when the request is in the public interest, but the FDA didn't make that judgement here.
Still, you can see the documents that were released here. It gives a glimpse at the kinds of interviews that people at the FDA were doing in the wake of Chipotle's E. Coli outbreak. For instance, representatives at the FDA were speaking with Oregon public radio for a segment with the show Think Out Loud.
US Department of Health and Human Services: FOI 2016-4993