Keeping tabs on campus eatery ratings

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Food Safety at CSUN Part 3 of 3

Students are encouraged to report any problems from campus food to the restaurant's manager. Photo Credit: Jenny Lee / Contributing Photographer

Students are encouraged to report any problems from campus food to the restaurant's manager. Photo Credit: Jenny Lee / Contributing Photographer

The following students from a Spring 2009 Journalism 410 class contributed to the story:

Robert Cisneros, Mariana Enriquez, Kristyn Fryrear, Cynthia Martinez, Samantha Minton, Gail Moscoso, Tiaira Nowlin, Casey Rowley, Shayla Selva

The University Corporation (TUC) works with the L.A. County Department of Public Health (LACDPH) to make sure campus eateries are up to regulation and code. TUC also authorizes the kinds of eateries that are allowed on campus. Tim Killops, the facilities and projects manager for TUC, is in charge of overseeing the regulation of campus eateries.

Killops said in an interview that the campus store The Edge had been shut down once by LACDPH because of a rodent problem.  They were quick to reopen since the school was made aware of the problem before the shutdown and had already been in the process of fixing the problem.

Killops said if students feel they are getting sick from the food or seeing potential problems with campus food preparation, then they should report it to the restaurant’s manager or tell TUC.  For now, there have been no reported problems concerning students getting sick from campus food.

CSUN employees make, handle and sell mass amounts of food to the 36,000-plus students, faculty and staff members that populate the campus. It is more than just knowing how to make the perfect sandwich or pasta dish. Food handlers must abide by the California Uniform Retail Food Facilities Law.

The Department of Public Health has failed to update some of its food ratings online. No place on campus has gone more than two years without being checked, but the website fails to reflect this.

The Freudian Sip at the Matador Bookstore Complex, which shows online that it was last checked in 2007, was actually last checked May 8, 2009. It was given a grade of 97.

Something as basic as washing one’s hands properly might seem like an obvious rule for food service staff, but one that is still necessary to enforce. Even though restaurants have their mishaps from time to time, it is important to note the importance of safety and the potential harm from food violations. Food-borne illnesses do occur and a grade ‘A’ sign in the window doesn’t make a restaurant harmless.

To check your favorite restaurant’s ratings before you dine, take a glance at the restaurant violations that are available online at www.lapublichealth.org/rating and by asking the manager at each kitchen.

Feedback is encouraged by the TUC. Leave a message in the suggestion box, with a manager, or visit the third floor of the Sierra Center.
To report a suspected food related illness, call the L.A. County Department of Public Health at 213-240-7821.