Multiple food facilities at Missouri Western State University received health inspection violations in the month of August, according to a report from the St. Joseph Health Department.
Violations from Einstein’s include not changing gloves after use of register, improper food handling techniques, employee drinks not covered, and the problems associated with food not being maintained at a proper temperature. This food was not handed out to the public, however. It was discarded immediately, and placed aside until the appliance could be fixed or replaced. All of this information on dining violations came from a monthly article by NewsPressNow, who in turn got all the information from Aramark company themselves.
There are two criteria health department inspectors highlight: critical and noncritical violations. A store usually is judged based on non-food touched cleanliness second, and food preparation and prep areas first.
“Critical violations are those that if not corrected could lead to a foodborne illness,” said Rick Messa, coordinator for the health department. “Non-critical are ones [such as] a dirty floor, walls — violations that usually do not cause an illness. Critical violation must be corrected in 72 hours or less, otherwise a follow up inspection fee will be assessed or a citation maybe given, which will require a court visit by the establishment, which can result in fines up to $500 per violation.”
As of August, campus dining had multiple noncritical violations, which included damaged wall, mixer leaking oil, dirty floors and walls, etc. The C store has had noncritical violations as well, like dirty nonfood contact surfaces. In other words, the counter and walls, basically the same checks as the dining hall. Einstein’s has racked up one critical violation, as well as noncritical violations, all due in part to appliances not working, among other small problems. No food has ever been dispersed to the public after result of a bad appliance or dirty violation.
“When I do an inspection I start at the back of the house (the kitchen area) and work to the front of the house (dining area),” Messa said. “I am always noticing everything that is going around me. Are the employees wearing glove while handling food? Are floors, walls, ceiling in good repair and clean? But my number one item on my inspections is the flow of the food, the temperature of the food, and what the management does when I come across a violation — do they take it seriously and correct it now if possible or do they just start giving me excuses?”
Despite the violations, Aramark coordinator Katherine Dewalt says that the agency continuously works to ensure food safety.
“There is a lot of work that goes into safely operating an establishment,” Dewalt said. “Luckily, our company has a very strong food safety program that assists us in making sure that we are operating as safely as possible, and any of the criteria are more stringent than that of the state. We are also audited quarterly by our District Manager, and at least once per semester from a third party auditor to ensure that we are operating within the required guidelines.”
As far as keeping away from bad marks on their inspections, Messa suggests certain steps to ensure a healthy, positive environment.
“Keep the hot foods hot and the cold foods cold, and when in doubt throw it out,” Messa said.
There are also follow-ups that Aramark allows to help a store correct their problem quickly so they don’t have to not use an appliance for a whole month waiting to get approval from the health inspectors.
“The health and safety of Missouri Western students is our top priority,” Dewalt said, “and the health inspection process is an important part of that.”