Chipotle outbreak makes Boston College commencement address

Part of our approach on barfblog is to inject surprise and humor, or what some might call shock jockery, into food safety messages to compel folks to employ risk reduction practices.

Sometimes we get it right, sometimes we don’t. Linking a norovirus outbreak with a tragic terrorist event isn’t the best idea. According to, United States Secretary of Energy Ernest J. Moniz made the Chipotle/Boston Marathon bombing connection during a Boston College commencement speech.Screen-Shot-2016-05-23-at-10.38.40-AM-850x478$large

United States Secretary of Energy Ernest J. Moniz is a native of Fall River, Mass., an alumnus of BC and a professor at MIT, which means he knows very well what it means to be a Bostonian.

But Boston College’s commencement speaker gave a special shout-out to the class of 2016 for being what he called “Boston College strong.”

“You were here for the terrible Boston Marathon terrorism events, the terrible snow storm, and, as I understand, the perils of fast food became also known to this class,” he said.

Those “perils” occurred in December during a norovirus outbreak at the Chipotle in Cleveland Circle. More than 140 Boston College students got sick after eating at the restaurant, including many members of the basketball team.

This entry was posted in E. coli, Food Safety Culture and tagged , by Ben Chapman. Bookmark the permalink.

About Ben Chapman

Dr. Ben Chapman is a professor and food safety extension specialist at North Carolina State University. As a teenager, a Saturday afternoon viewing of the classic cable movie, Outbreak, sparked his interest in pathogens and public health. With the goal of less foodborne illness, his group designs, implements, and evaluates food safety strategies, messages, and media from farm-to-fork. Through reality-based research, Chapman investigates behaviors and creates interventions aimed at amateur and professional food handlers, managers, and organizational decision-makers; the gate keepers of safe food. Ben co-hosts a biweekly podcast called Food Safety Talk and tries to further engage folks online through Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and, maybe not surprisingly, Pinterest. Follow on Twitter @benjaminchapman.