The D’Angelo Center Food Court received several critical violations in its most recent health inspection, performed by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Inspected on October 22, the less than one-year old facility received a score of 50 points, much higher than the “A” grade of 0-13. The food court received five scored sanitary violations and one unscored administrative violation.
Of the sanitary violations, four were deemed critical and have to be corrected immediately, according to Health Department standards.
Resident district Chartwells manager Dennis Lestrange has been working with the University to address the issues raised by the inspection.
“Food safety, we take very seriously,” he said. “We’re trying to make sure that we serve food in a safe environment.”
In the inspector’s report, released on the Health Department’s website, the critical sanitary violations included both hot and cold food items being stored at improper temperatures, a lack of hand washing facilities and improper cleaning of food contact surfaces.
The general violation was the improper construction of a non-food contact surface. The administrative violation stated that there is no valid permit to operate the establishment available.
Graded under the city’s new system for the first time, the University has at least a week to fix the violations before they are re-inspected and given a pending-letter grade of A, B or C.
This summer, the Health Department did an overhaul of the old grading system, which was based strictly on points, in favor of the letter grade and points system that was more accessible for consumers.
Restaurants are inspected and given a points value. Those given between 0-13 points receive an A grade, are considered to pass. B grades receive between 14-27 points, while C’s, failing grades, receive 28 or more points.
Marillac Hall’s facility, as well as Starbucks and the Library café, have so far received A grades. The Law School has been inspected twice, resulting in a B grade pending one final inspection in coming weeks, according to the University.
Montgoris and the Faculty Club have not yet been inspected.
While the D’Angelo Center received 50 points, they have not yet been given a letter grade. They will receive that grade after the re-inspection, and will have the opportunity to fight it if they receive a B or C.
They will also receive a “Grade Pending” card, according to the guidelines set by the Health Department, until they are re-inspected for a third time, after which the grade becomes final.
According to Lestrange, the biggest problem identified by the inspection was the lack of a proper hand-washing station for employees in the Chop’d Salads and Boar’s Head section.
“There was some construction delay in there,” he said. “There wasn’t a hand sink, we put a temporary hand sink in.”
Lestrange stated that on the day of the inspection the hand sink in question wasn’t working, resulting in a 28-point infraction, the maximum amount for a critical violation.
He added that the Health Department was satisfied by the use of a temporary sink, but the inspector did acknowledge that it was what prevented the food court from receiving a B grade.
“There will be a permanent sink put in,” he said. “Once that happens, we’re not going to have an issue of a sink failing anymore.”
In terms of the violations having to do with food storage temperature, Lestrange was unsure of whether it could be considered a hazard, or “if it was like a degree off.”
He assured that the Chartwells staff monitors temperatures consistently.
“We do check foods regularly throughout the day,” he said. “We have temperature logs, refrigerator logs. We do have a system in place to do that.”
“Cold food has to be cold, hot food has to be hot,” he added.
In terms of the administrative violation, which stated that the facility’s permit to operate could not be located, Lestrange believes that a clerical error was to blame.
“Right now it’s more of an administrative issue,” he said. “The renewal was rejected because two components were missing.”
The lack of a permit had no impact on the amount of points, as it is considered an unscored violation.
Lestrange spoke with the head of the Health Department the day of the inspection, and has been working around the clock with University and Chartwells staff to improve on the conditions.
He cited the many initiatives in place to prevent something like this from happening.
A third party organization, the Office of Health, Safety and Security, is regularly brought in to perform their own inspections and give managers and staff an idea of what to look out for.
“The whole purpose of that is to make sure, obviously, that we are not in violation of health codes,” Lestrange said.
All employees in any of the dining areas must also be certified food handlers. Managers also go through ServSafe Food Safety programs to learn proper protocol.
Lestrange said that the Chartwells and University staffs are doing everything possible to be ready for the next inspection.
The sink in question is being checked several times a day, and members of both staffs sat down Tuesday to discuss the issues.
Lestrange wanted students and University community members to know that the next inspection could be dramatically different.
“When they do the inspection, they’re going to reinspect everything,” he said. “They could come back and we could get a nine and that would be an A.”