Open Letter to Anyone Who Partakes of the Campus Eateries: Although I applaud the on-campus eateries for structuring menus that include healthy choices for CSUN students, the eateries safety and sanitation practices are sorely lacking. Several instances at the various campus eateries lead me to question how well the food servers and managers are trained. While I was contemplating the menu at The Rice Garden Chinese Cookery in the Bookstore Complex, an employee who was mopping the floor while wearing foodservice gloves leaned her mop against the wall and walked over to the steam table to serve me WITHOUT removing her gloves or washing her hands first. I decided to go to the Bamboo Terrace in the Sierra Center instead, since I didn’t want a side of bacteria with my Orange Chicken. While waiting at Bamboo Terrace I noticed one of the cooks dicing chicken. He had a large container (approximately 18 x 30 x 6) of chicken still in plastic packaging on one side of the chopping board and an equally large container on the other to put the diced chicken into.
There was no ice under either container. Having been a professional cook who worked in the foodservice industry, and having received my safety and sanitation certification, I KNOW that the chicken would hover in the temperature danger zone of 40 140 degrees not only while he had it out of the refrigerator, but for quite some time after he put the diced chicken back into the refrigerator. Bacteria would gleefully breed during that time.
My Orange Chicken suddenly looked much less appetizing. I decided to talk to the manager. Once I had a look at the manager I knew my comment would fall on deaf ears. His black hair slicked into a pompadour rising proudly from his forehead must have been at least six inches long and nary a hairnet in sight!
He also sported a soul patch. Although he was dealing with food when he turned around to speak to me, he wasn’t wearing gloves. I’m glad his manager bacteria and hair know better than to contaminate my food! After hearing my observation he said the usual manager-like things and I wandered over to a table to pick at my dinner.
Two weeks later I decided to have a slice of pizza for dinner from Pizzaz in the Sierra Center. As I entered the Center I noticed the same cook, dicing chicken in the same way again without ice.
I guess a comment from a concerned student doesn’t have the same weight that a visit from the health department and a “B” rating does. Sighing, I headed to Pizazz. As I reached the counter the manager, again without a hairnet or gloves, asked me if everything was alright. I said I just wanted a slice of cheese pizza. His eyes slid to the cook at Bamboo Terrace as he dished up my slice. He smiled as he handed the pizza to me.
– Tricia Robbins, a concerned student who is eating off campus from now on