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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Dining hall facilities receive grades, new dining hall scores lowest

The Commons dining hall scored the lowest amongst other dining facilities on campus. Graphic by Natallie St. Onge

When freshmen Justyn Spann and Ian Bonnah were walking down Wells Street and saw places like Jimmy John’s and Papa John’s with A ratings in their windows, they wondered why The Commons was labeled with a B rating by its dining hall register.

“I was really surprised,” Spann, a student in the College of Education, said. “All of the other high schools and other colleges I’ve been to I’ve always seen an A rating, so with this being a private university, shouldn’t the safety be higher? I would expect it to be the very best.”

The Commons recently received a score of 72 for sanitation April 17, according to the Milwaukee Health Department website. The violations in that inspection have not been released.

Donato Guida, general manager of Sodexo campus services, said what happened with The Commons’ inspection was an issue with a dish machine. He said the dish machines were not able to hit a consistent temperature.

Sodexo is Marquette’s dining services.

He said Marquette’s facilities team looked at it and corrected the issue.  

Rick Arcuri, executive director of student affairs operations, said the dish washer was a warranty item and was repaired by the manufacturer’s service technician.

“The points lost can be earned back by correcting the item, so I don’t believe The Commons will carry a B rating after the re-inspection,” Arcuri said in an email.

Jennifer Land, a freshman in the College of Nursing and someone who eats in The Commons dining hall every day, said the rating does concern her, but she said she would not want to know what the violations were against The Commons dining hall.

“I would rather be aware that they are working to improve and want to hear about what they are changing and doing rather than what is wrong,” Land said. “Ignorance is bliss.” 

For Bridget Kelly, a sophomore in the College of Engineering who eats at The Commons at least five times a week, said the rating is worrisome.

“I don’t think it’s fair that they kept feeding us the food that wasn’t really healthy,” Kelly said. 

Arcuri said no one on campus knows when the health inspectors are coming, but staff are trained year round to maintain health within the dining hall.

“We would change a policy if we were notified that it was in violation of the health code,” Arcuri said in an email.

Milly Figueroa, a freshman in the College of Arts and Sciences and some one who eats at The Commons everyday, said if dining halls with healthier options and better ratings, like Straz, were opened longer, that would be better for students.

“When (The Commons dining hall) it’s the only place you have on weekends, you kind of got to make do,” Figueroa said. 

“Having this the first year that it was open as well, and having a completely new food place, it should have a better rating or better options,” Bonnah, a student in the College of Arts & Sciences, said.

But for Figueroa, she said said she was not concerned about the low rating.

“I haven’t had bad experiences yet,” Figueroa said. “I also think if you see something out for awhile, it’s common sense to not go for it. In a way, you can help it. It is worrisome overall as an issue, but I personally just haven’t been affected by it.”

The Commons received violations in late September 2018. It received priority violations for having raw sausage placed above cooked meat that was to be reheated, for having a brisket in a walk-in cooler at 77 degrees Fahrenheit and a high temperature dish washer machine did not register the minimum of 160 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the Milwaukee Health Department website.  Raw meat can be contaminated and the lower temperatures could generate bacteria. The first two violations were corrected during the inspection by the operator. 

There were additional core violations including dry storage being below unprotected drain lines and the women’s bathroom not being provided with a covered waste bin. 

Diamond Hanson, a health communications officer for the Milwaukee Health Department, said the health grades are applied during the inspections.

“Each establishment will have a routine inspection a minimum of once every 12 months,” Hanson said in an email.

Guida said inspections typically occur twice a year at random. He said Sodexo Dining Services has never had a major violation. 

The grade that each facility receives is applied during the inspections, when the inspections evaluate compliance with the Wisconsin Food Code, Hanson said.

The point system structured by the Milwaukee Health Department is on an A-C scale. To receive an A, a facility must receive above a 79. To earn a B, a facility must fall between 60-78, and a C is anything below 59. The letter ratings are intentionally visible to consumers at the entrance of the facility. If facilities score below a 59, they will temporarily close until they comply.

A priority violation contributes directly to hazards associated with food borne illness or injury, according to the Milwaukee Health Department website.

A priority foundation supports, facilitates or enables one or more priority items.

A core item usually relates to general sanitations, operational controls, facilities or structures, equipment design or general maintenance.

Other Marquette dining facilities such as Straz Tower and Cobeen Hall received ratings in the high nineties, Marquette Place received an 89 when it was inspected Jan. 7, according to the Milwaukee Health Department’s website.

Its violations included having a sink too close to a food prep area, allowing for splash and contamination and clean utensils being stored before being fully air dried. These issues were corrected, according to the website.

Schroeder Hall received a 91 during its inspection April 26. Further information about this inspection is not yet available.

Cobeen Hall received a 94 during its most recent inspection Feb. 21. It received a violation for high bacterial amounts in chocolate and swirl ice cream samples taken Oct. 30, 2018, according to the Milwaukee Health Department’s website.

Straz Tower was last inspected Oct. 22, 2018. It received a 98.

Straz’s dining hall received a violation for improper cooling methods for Alfredo sauce in the walk in cooler. It was corrected during inspection, according to the website.

The Brew at the Marquette School of Dentistry received a 97 during its last inspection Oct. 1, 2018. It received violations for yogurt being above appropriate cooling temperature and utensils sitting in stale water in the dipper well. Both were corrected during inspection.

The Brew at Cudahy Hall has not been inspected since March 26, 2018. At the time, it received a score of 97. It received a violation for having five strawberry yogurt parfaits past the discard date. This was corrected during inspection. It also received a violation for a dish washer machine not working properly.

The Brew at the Alumni Memorial Union has not been inspected since March 5, 2018, when it received a 98. It received a violation for improper sanitation concentration when washing utensils.

Hanson said the violations are written on the inspection report with a compliance due date depending on what the violation is.

If a violation is not corrected during the first follow-up inspection, there is a $125 repeat violation fee, Hanson said.

“If compliance is not found by the fourth re-inspections then the establishment is temporarily closed until they comply,” Hanson said in an email.

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About the Contributor
Annie Mattea is the Managing Editor of the Marquette Tribune. She is a junior from Grayslake, Illinois and is majoring in journalism with a minor in digital media and political science. She has reported at length on the demonstration policy, COVID-19, and numerous other on campus issues.

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