— -- A Boston health inspector has put his money and his fork where his mouth is by eating at a Chipotle restaurant weeks after a norovirus outbreak sickened more than 140 Boston College students among others.
William "Buddy" Christopher, a commissioner of Boston's Inspectional Services Department, ate at the restaurant with his staff to underscore that the restaurant had received a "clean bill of health."
“We are pleased to see that the Cleveland Circle Chipotle has taken the necessary steps to meet the health code standards put forth by the City of Boston to protect consumers,” Christopher said in a statement yesterday. “To show our confidence in our inspection, I enjoyed a lunch at Chipotle this afternoon. The health and safety of the people of Boston is our top priority."
The restaurant was temporarily shut down earlier this month after dozens of Boston College students became sick with the norovirus after eating at the restaurant or were in contact with someone who ate at the location. The virus is extremely contagious and usually causes gastrointestinal symptoms for two to three days. The restaurant has reopened this week after it passed health inspections on Dec. 23.
"It is important to note that noroviruses are very common, in part because they are so easily transmitted," Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold told ABC News this month. "According to the CDC, there are approximately 20 million cases a year, making them the leading cause of gastroenteritis in the U.S."
Chipotle has been grappling with an E.coli outbreak in November that sickened at least 53 people in nine states. The company announced last month it has started new measures to ensure food safety and handling, including testing fresh produce with DNA-based tests, end-of-shelf-life testing to ensure ingredients are safe throughout their shelf life, improvements to the supply chain by measuring performance data of vendors and suppliers, and enhancing employee training in food safety and handling.