On-campus food services ruffling students’ feathers

October 11th, 2012

Freshman Natalie Wetzel was shocked to find a piece of plastic in her Asian style dish in Schott Dining Hall last Thursday, Oct. 4. “I pushed the plate away and immediately lost my appetite. I didn’t eat anything else that night. It was gross,” Wetzel said.

This incident is not the first of a series of surprising discoveries of non-food particles in students’ meals at both the dining hall and the Inn Between.

The problem of finding solid non-food particles in meals in the dining hall has just started cropping up this year, according to senior Maggie McPhee. She said, “Stray hairs in the dining hall are a common occurrence, but never any foreign objects.”

However, student concerns have been validated by documented cases. Two incidents involving feathers being found in the fried chicken in the dining hall have been discussed among students on campus as well. Freshman Taylor Moorehouse said that her friend “had to throw her whole meal away because she lost her appetite after peeling a small feather away from the bone in her chicken. I won’t even consider eating it now,” she said.

Many students feel this charge is worrisome, as feathers pose a choking hazard and imply a lack of cleanliness in JCU’s kitchens. Though the feathers and plastic shrapnel that have been found by students in the dining hall and Inn Between have been relatively small, the oversight their presence reveals is somewhat alarming to student diners.

Thomas George, the district manager of dining services for Aramark, assured that all food locations conform to state health codes and are monitored closely.

George also said that he has not received any reports of problems with students’ meals this year, except for one incident when a student came forward with a complaint about a foreign object on her pizza. He said, “We immediately investigated the situation and resolved it with the customer. All proper food safety and food preparation procedures were followed, and we are confident that this was an isolated situation.”

The Student Health Center also told The Carroll News that no students have come in with health complaints due to inedible food particles in their meals.

Though reported incidents of shrapnel in students’ dinner plates have been isolated, the John Carroll community is encouraged to pay attention to what they are eating and report all food-related concerns and incidents to a dining hall manager immediately to ensure this problem is corrected, according to George.