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Sodexo Cited For Health Violations

Health Inspector Finds Mice, Roaches and Poor Food Storage


Published: Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Updated: Wednesday, April 6, 2011 03:04

Photo by Brian Kraker/ The Ram

Health department inspectors cited health violations at four of Fordham's Sodexo dining facilities during a March 21 examination. The New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene discovered health code infractions at the Student Deli, Millennium Grille, Ramskeller and Marketplace.

The inspections unearthed evidence of mice, roaches and improper storage of food, shortcomings that placed Fordham eateries in the lowest grade bracket. The Department of Health utilizes a grading system based on points earned by each infraction, where each violation amasses more points and lowers an establishment's grade. 

Restaurants scoring between 0-13 are awarded an A, while a restaurant earning between 14-27 points is classified as a B. If an establishment receives marks exceeding 27, the restaurant is given a C.

With final grades still pending, the Student Deli received a score of 53, the Millennium Grille a 47 and the Ramskeller a 30, with the Health Department classifying any score above 28 as unsatisfactory.

The health inspector cited critical violations in the Student Deli, including "evidence of mice or live mice present in facility's food and/or non-food areas."

According to Brian Poteat, general manager of Food Services, the inspector discovered mouse "excretra or droppings in his report."

The inspection also uncovered that the Deli was neither vermin-proof nor was food properly stored to protect against contamination. The inspector also discovered the presence of live roaches on the premises, which earned the Deli another critical violation.

"Sodexo has a very stringent pest control program and a professional pest control company to manage issues in all of our food facilities," Poteat said. "Since the inspection the pest control company has been in all of facilities daily to ensure any issues with pests do not reoccur."

The Millennium Grille was also cited for evidence of mice, along with critical violations for not storing hot food items above 140 degrees Fahrenheit and cold food items below 41 degrees Fahrenheit, the minimum required temperatures for these items.

"The city violations recognized that foods ([hot sausage] and sliced cheddar cheese and sliced tomatoes-cold) were not out of temperature for more than two hours," Poteat stated. "Sodexo took proper corrective actions in reheating and rechilling these foods." 

The inspector also found minor violations for the improperly maintained food contact surfaces, absence of accurate thermometers and a facility not vermin-proof.

"All ‘conditions conducive to pests' have been corrected, including the plugging of all holes and replacement of any missing tiles," Poteat said.

However, students previously experienced displeasure with insects present at the Grille.

"I went to the Grille and got a salad," Michelle FlorCruz, FCRH '12, said. "I found a full grasshopper the size of my thumb in the middle of it."

FlorCruz returned the salad to the Grille, where she was asked to lodge a formal complaint and later compensated $25 DCB for the incident.

Katie Finnegan, FCRH '13, recalls watching her friend Michael Cattermole, FCRH '13, discover a plastic nail in a hamburger from the caf when opening the burger to add condiments.

"Had my friend not wanted ketchup on his burger and just ate it, he could have choked on the nail or chipped a tooth," Finnegan said.

Cattermole returned the burger to a Sodexo employee and was given a $25 gift card to Dagger John's as compensation.

However, this incident is no anomaly. One Ram staffer uncovered a blue push pin in a chocolate chip muffin and received the same certificate in return.  

The Ramskeller was the third Fordham location cited for signs of mice, as well as "food not protected from potential source of contamination during storage, preparation, transportation, display or service."

The Marketplace was cited for critical violations including filth flies "present in facility's food and/or non-food areas."

Filth flies are classified as house flies, fruit flies, blow flies or other insects of the same order.

When confronted with the violations, many Fordham students expressed preexisting displeasures with the Sodexo-run facilities.

"I had food poisoning four times my freshman year from eating at the caf," Mark Kotnis, FCRH '12, said. 

While all Rose Hill Campus facilities inspected received violation points, Lincoln Center's Lowenstein Building garnered a clean score. Still, the campus' lone dining facility was cited for "hand washing facility not provided in or near food preparation area and toilet room," but not awarded any points for the infraction.

Fordham's food establishments have also experienced a decline in performance since previous inspections. The Student Deli scored a 17 on an Oct. 22, 2009 test before scoring a 53 last week. The Ramskeller also posted a 17 in a 2009 inspection prior to receiving a 30 this year. The Millennium Grille held a 21, the worst 2009 score, and has since regressed to a 47.

Still, both the Marketplace and Lowenstein Café were awarded A grades based on the scores from the March 21 inspection.

Other major colleges in New York City scored better than Fordham's eateries in thier inspections. Columbia University received a score of 2 while New York University had six dining facilities score in the single digits, four in the teens and only one dining hall fall within the C range.

In contrast to Fordham's on-campus locations, the White Castle on Fordham Road received zero violation points in its 2010 inspection, while Tino's Delicatessen scored a 13 on Jan. 13.

The Department of Health found several violations at Fordham's facilities, despite Sodexo partaking in multiple safety programs.

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3 comments Log in to Comment

Thu Apr 7 2011 16:46
As a parent who loves Fordham for my daughters in so many ways, I find this just sad. No wonder all she eats is salad, and apparently that is even dodgy. We should all get some sort or refund or discount having been forced to pay for a meal plan. Its not funny that a school has such poor food. Its doesn't take much to serve good healthy safe meals.
Concerned Mom
Thu Apr 7 2011 13:51
My son has wanted an off-campus apartment since his first year at Fordham, citing horrible food among the chief reasons. We thought he was exaggerating, but now I see why he was sick so often. I feel betrayed -- we entrusted our child to this school, and expected healthy food at the very minimum! Now I see why the colleges my younger son is considering make such a big deal about their good food -- and I doubt the younger one will want to go to Fordham after reading this article. Fordham administrators who are reading this -- you should know that high school seniors DO seriously consider quality of the food when choosing a college. And while parents may not expect sushi and salad bars, they DO expect cleanliness and basic quality ingredients.
Thu Apr 7 2011 05:40
This is beyond acceptable. Fordham should be ashamed! My daughter often complains about the food and how she doesn't feel good after she eats, but I never really thought much about it until now. Someone should be fired over this. Get serious. The amount we pay for the food plan and pride in the school should be more than enough to consistently provide excellent food!

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