May 092004
 
Authors: Anna Welle

Contrary to what some people may think, kitchens in every CSU

residence hall follow standard practices and tests to maintain the

safety of the food they serve.

“They’ve got some sketchy food sometimes. I’ve noticed some

sausage patties from the day before in the gravy,” said Brandon

Johnson, a freshman open-option major. “I guess you never really

know, but you can kind of tell.”

Housing and Dining Services officials say otherwise.

“We have a highly organized system, designed to do two things:

give healthful, pleasing food and prevent people from getting

sick,” said Dick Snell, Dining Services IV in the Corbett and

Parmelee dining hall.

Three unidentified students, known as “mystery shoppers,” are

used to do evaluations of the dining halls. These students critique

employees’ performances and survey individual units periodically

throughout the year.

The student-critique scores are averaged together to give an

overall employee evaluation.

Deon Lategan, director of Dining Services, said the plan to keep

food safe is “truly a team effort.”

Dining Services also uses The Hazardous Analysis Critical

Control Points, a food-safety inspection system used by NASA. The

test is used to analyze the flow of food through the production

process and to keep food safe.

“It’s amazing how much food waste has to happen to keep

food-quality high,” Snell said.

CSU residence-hall kitchens also must comply with strict federal

government food-code standards and must take part in periodic,

unannounced inspections from CSU Environmental Health Services.

Snell worked in the restaurant business for more than 10 years

before coming to CSU. He has worked with Dining Services for more

than 12 years.

“There’s a natural propensity not to follow when there is no one

watching,” Snell said.

Still, he said the safety and quality standards are more likely

to be followed in the school system.

To ensure that all the food produced in the kitchen is safe, a

sample of every meal is kept for three days. This practice, called

“Oscar,” allows the food to be tested in case any customer issues a

food-poisoning complaint. Snell said that to his knowledge, the

three times an “Oscar” sample was called in, the food tested

negative for poisoning.

The National Association of College and University Food Services

is an organization used as an informational resource for education,

marketing and safety.

Each year it compiles a survey of 51 institutions and more than

81,000 students. CSU scored higher than the national average in

every category, Lategan said.

Additionally, surveys have shown that student appreciation of

Dining Services has increased over the past year and there have

been a 64 percent increase since last year in the purchase of

“off-campus” meal plans for students who do not live in the

residence halls but still wish to eat there.

Allen Blanco, a junior sports medicine major, likes to use his

friend’s guest passes to eat residence hall food.

“I like it. I love it,” Blanco said.

Whitney Barrick, a freshman open-option student, is also a fan

of the residence-hall food.

“I like it. There’s a good variety of stuff,” she said.

Others disagree.

“I wish they had more of a healthy selection,” said Danielle

Garnett, a freshman biology student. “Even the baked chicken is

greasy.”

Still, Lategan said that the residence halls are trying to

respond to students’ concerns by developing new programs.

“Computrition,” a computerized menu-management system, is coming

soon and will help students make healthy and educated decisions on

what they eat.

Lategan said the system will have nutritional components

available for everything served and will be available in the next

six to eight months.

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