Dining Services recieves better scores on food, still room for improvement

By Sara Scheler

November 13, 2013

In March, the Cyber Café received a sanitation inspection by the Elmwood Park Health Department in response to a complaint.

Director of Dining Services Kimberly Nickelberry said the complaint was due to the distracting smell that the pizza ovens caused in the lower library. “They wanted to come and see if the exhaust was working,” Nickelberry said.

In the inspection report, Cyber employees were cited for not wearing gloves.

Nickelberry said all of her employees are aware of the glove-wearing policy and are required to watch a safety video and answer a 20 question pledge every year, adding, “I never knew why or what person wasn’t wearing gloves or what that person was doing.”

Nickelberry also mentioned that wearing gloves is a perception because employees can still touch their hair even if they have gloves on.

“99.9 percent of the time people are wearing gloves and they know the procedure,” she said. “My end result is always you still have to wear the gloves. It wasn’t critical, they just cited it. As long as it’s not a critical I’m fine,” Nickelberry said in response to the glove citation.

Nickelberry said she and her managers check staff uniforms daily. “I go downstairs for about an hour and just watch.”

This time around, the inspector did not cite much, which had not been the case in the past. In 2012, the Cyber received an 89 percent sanitation score and an 84 percent in 2011 with temperature regulation and expired food being the main issues.

In the fall of 2011, the Dining Hall scored a 79 percent on their sanitation inspection report. Multiple items were found past their expiration date and yogurt was found to be in the temperature danger zone, a zone that is known to promote bacterial growth.

Students have mixed experiences with the temperature of food in the Dining Hall.

Commuter Molly McGrail said, “With the exception of the soup…the hot foods are not often hot.”

Resident Megan Knape added, “Sometimes the food is not hot enough.”

Executive Chef Steven Hipp is required to keep records of food temperature in the Dining Hall.

Hipp and Nickelberry said the food is checked three times during each meal and the temperatures are recorded.

Hipp said, “As far as I know, everything’s been hot. I’ve been out there looking at it.”

Hipp said food is discarded if it is found to be in the temperature danger zone.  Hipp mentioned that it happens more often than he would kike usually around “three times a week.”

Hipp said Dining Services purchased new hot tables a few weeks ago in response to consistently low temperatures.

McGrail and Knape, both seniors, said they have never seen staff members take temperatures of the food. “I didn’t even know they did that,” McGrail said.

When given the sanitation scores for the Dining Hall, McGrail said, “It sounds like they need to be more consistent.”

When asked about low tempertures for food, Nickelberry said, “There’s nothing I can do if you don’t tell me then and there…my expectation as a customer is you would notify me so we can all attack it at the same time.”