The Department of Health inspected the dining locations on campus on Tuesday, Sept. 23 and gave three out of the eight locations a grade of “unsatisfactory.” Those locations — the Eagle Café, Einstein’s Bagels and the Florida Gulf Coast University Catering Kitchen — will be re-inspected on Oct. 13.
The main issue the health inspector noted in the reports was torn gaskets, referring to the white rubber seal along a refrigerator door. According to Joe McDonald, assistant vice president of business services, the gaskets work to keep air out of the fridge. The gaskets that were noted on the health reports will be replaced.
The health inspector noted that the refrigerator temperature was too high in a cooler in the Eagle Café, which consists of Subway, Taco Bell, Azul’s and the C3 convenience store. McDonald explained that the temperature was high because the Coke delivery truck driver had propped the fridge door open while loading soda.
“They (employees at the convenience store) removed all of the food products that the inspector told them to throw out, but the physical plant had been monitoring the temperature all day and it was fine until the Coke delivery guy arrived,” McDonald said.
The health report also mentions that the floors and counters in the Eagle Café were dirty, but McDonald said that the inspector came during the lunchtime rush, when the employees were busy keeping up with customers.
“They do have a set schedule for cleaning, and Aramark has its own safety team,” McDonald said. He noted that because Chick-fil-a, Blu Sushi, Starbucks and Truly Organic are chains either locally or nationally, they all have their own strict guidelines for health and safety.
The health report noted that there were “live roaches observed on sticky traps” in the Catering Kitchen in Sugden Hall. McDonald said that the sticky traps show that the kitchen was being “proactive.”
“I don’t care if you’re a Ritz-Carlton or a Mom and Pop, you’re going to have the occasional insect, especially in Florida with such a wet area,” McDonald said.
McDonald said that despite the unsatisfactory ratings at those locations, all of the food on campus is safe to eat.
“I’ve been here for three years, and there have been no instances of food issues,” McDonald said. “We have these inspections two or three times every year, and we have a new inspector every time, so he has to learn our system.”
“I was pleased that all the food storage temperatures were fine − we had a unique situation with that cooler. We did have more unsatisfactory reports than normal, but now with the increased load at the Eagle Café, we have additional storage that we didn’t have before,” he said.
FGCU’s contract with the food service Aramark ends July 2016. According to McDonald, there will be a dining consultant meeting with groups on campus this week to gauge what people are looking for in food options. Next semester, the university will put out a bid for new food contractors.