Not Making The Grade

For the past year, St. John’s has undergone an overhaul of its food services. Students in the past have complained about food quality, and Sodexho has tweaked certain aspects of the food system to please students’ pallets. Now if they could only pass health inspections.

According to health inspection reports conducted in the beginning of February, three major eating areas at St. John’s failed to pass their inspection by a noticeable margin. The point of failure for health inspections is 28 violation points. The city’s average is 13 violation points. Montgoris, Marillac, and the St. Augustine Library cafe all received over 30 violation points, which is unacceptable.

Some of the instances listed on the reports, which can be found at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Web site,, can be seen as minor transgressions as a result of improper paperwork or incidents such as inadequate lighting.

Others, like unsatisfactory maintenance of food surfaces, can potentially endanger the health of students who dine on campus.

The new library facility obtained 35 violation points. Some of the points were for violations such as food held at improper temperatures, food protection certificate not held by the supervisor of the facility, and a “Wash hands” sign not posted at hand-wash facilities. There was also a violation that stated, “Personal cleanliness inadequate. Clean outer garments, effective hair restraint not worn.”

The results of these reports should not be tolerated by the individuals who eat their meals at St. John’s. As a prominent university, all the facilities should be in top form.

Sodexho made it a point to place posters in the dining facilities that discuss how they have improved the dining experience at St. John’s. It is essentially their responsibility to make sure that their workspace is up to par with health standards so that the health of their consumers and their reputation is upheld. They should have made it a point to pass the inspections before highlighting their accomplishments.

It is possible for a large university to have the ability to have minimal offenses. If there is any proof of that at St. John’s, take the University Center Cafe, which received only six violation points. It is up to the individuals responsible for the facilities to make it a priority to correct the infractions immediately.

The goal should not be to merely pass the inspections but to limit the amount of violations as much as possible. It is time for the dining facilities to clean up their act so students can feel safe. The main concern of students should be their performance in the academic setting, not the complications they could face from the next bite of their chicken wrap.