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.
“I wish they had more of a healthy selection,” said Danielle
Garnett, a freshman biology student. “Even the baked chicken is
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.