Campus dining passes inspection

Nine out of the 10 inspections of the University’s dining facilities have received a satisfactory rating this year, according to Leon County Department of Health documents.

The Universities Orange Room received only one unsatisfactory rating for a violation of the dishwashing facility codes Feb. 7.

Upon re-inspection two weeks later, the violation was corrected and the facility received a satisfactory rating.  Chapter 64E-11 of the Florida Administrative Codes requires a three-compartment sink for all dishwashing facilities.  The Orange Room was in violation of this requirement. 

“We are working in conjunction with the University right now to get the sink installed,” Terry Woodard, general manager of campus dining services said.

Meanwhile, the Café is making satisfactory improvements from last years’ 16 violations. The violations included ensuring meat is stored below other foods in the refrigerator. Also, ensuring that all food is properly sealed once opened and that the ovens and mixers are clean.  Vents must be free of dust and floors must be clean. This includes under shelves and between equipment and in coolers. 

Dining services corrected all code violations before the next inspection to avoid an administrative fine or other legal action.

“When you are storing food, all raw meat must be on a tray or on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator,” Joya Phillips, supervisor for the facilities program at the Florida Department of Health said. “If for some reason the power goes out and the thawing process begins, this prevents other foods from becoming contaminated.”

Phillips continued, “Previously opened foods or leftovers must be sealed, labeled and dated. You have 7 days to use them or throw them out. Chapter 64E-11 of the Florida Administration Codes gives us the authority to write down any violation.”

While the majority of FAMU’s dining services passed inspections, Franchesca Taylor, 19, conducted an experiment with her friends to determine for herself the cleanliness of the dining facilities. 

“My friends and I noticed one day that the Cafe floor, especially the floor under the drink machines was filled with buildup from spilled drinks. As an experiment, we planted garbage under the machine to see if it would still be there the following day. Sure enough when we returned for dinner the next night our trash was still there,” Taylor, a sophomore business administration student from Mobile, Ala. said. 

Although she and her friends conducted the experiment, Taylor said she has never witnessed conditions “so horrible that I wouldn’t come back.”

The other dining facility on campus is downstairs from the Café where students can choose from fast food favorites: Kentucky Fried Chicken and Pizza Hut.  These facilities have received satisfactory ratings for every inspection since January 2002.

“One of our focuses is our very stringent policy concerning sanitation,” Woodard said.

“We use a program called Hazardous Analysis Critical Control Points that we complete on a monthly basis as our standard for food, safety and sanitation. We also put all of our employees through an extensive three-day training on food preparation, food storage and food handling,” Woodard said.

Christopher Hill, 18, did not have any complaints about the cleanliness of the facilities, but he was not as pleased with the variety of meals.

“It always seems pretty clean to me,” Hill said. Hill, a freshman biology student from Bladensburg, Md., lives on campus and does not have the means to go off campus for his meals. 

Because he eats at the Café everyday, his diet consists mainly of hamburgers, french fries and pizza offering him very little variety. 

Jean Toussaint, 19, agreed with Hill’s opinion of cleanliness and variety.  “They keep up with (the facility), but they serve the same thing so you get tired of it,” the 19-year-old said. 

Toussaint, a sophomore theatre student from Ft. Lauderdale, tends to eat off-campus because of the schedule of the Café. 

“If I want to eat at a certain time and they are not serving, I have to find somewhere else to eat.”

Department of Health records state that there have been no formal complaints filed with the Department of Health concerning the dining facilities at FAMU since 2002.

The Leon County Department of Health conducts health inspections quarterly.

Facilities are evaluated on 44 areas that include: food protection, personnel, equipment and utensils, sanitary facilities and controls.  According to the inspection form, violations of code must be corrected by the next evaluation or legal action may be initiated.

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