The Handschumacher Dining Center was found to be out of compliance with several provisions of the Pennsylvania Food Code during an inspection Dec. 30, 2010.
The violations recorded in the report included mouse feces found in the kitchens and storage areas, fruit flies observed underneath a self-serve beverage station and lack of a dedicated sink for mop-water disposal, among other violations.
Retail Management Director Jackelyn Eliassen said in a written statement that all of the problems reported in the inspection have since been resolved.
“Sodexo worked closely with their corporate food safety and quality assurance teams and the Drexel University Facilities team to rectify the violations immediately,” Eliassen said. “When the dining center reopened for winter 2011, all food service and many of the facility issues were corrected. No fines or penalties were imposed.”
Eliassen went on to say that that the dining hall received a nearly perfect score in a Feb. 16 inspection by the National Sanitation Foundation, and that no problems were found during internal audits by Sodexo in May.
“Sodexo was awarded the highest possible score in an NSF audit, a third-party health inspection that sets the industry standard for food, physical and equipment safety. Sodexo scored 99.5 percent on food safety and 98 percent on physical safety. Drexel Dining Services also has regularly scheduled service and inspections from a licensed pest control company. Measures taken have been very effective,” Eliassen said.
Although the dining hall staff took measures to eliminate the specific problems reported in December, other similar flaws were found in a June 6 inspection by city officials.
“These violations included gnats present in the soda area, the need for additional breath guards in the counter and bread prep area, and uncovered food in the walk-in box, which was corrected immediately. Overall, the [Philadelphia] Board of Health was impressed with the steps taken since the last inspection and saw no need to reinspect in the near future,” Eliassen said.
Despite the actions taken to improve sanitation in the dining hall, student opinions of the facility remain widely unfavorable. Communication major Megan Halicek was shocked upon reading the December inspection report.
“I had no idea that this was happening, and it’s very disgusting,” Halicek said. “It appears that they’re taking care of it, but I still don’t feel that great about it because all this was happening initially.”
While Retail Management and Sodexo appear to have made significant improvements to the dining hall, at least one sign of remaining flaws has been observed since the start of the summer term. Digital media major Seth Garber reported in a Facebook post that he saw a mouse in the dining hall June 21.
“[I] just saw a mouse run around the dining hall floor. New low for Drexel Dining,” Garber wrote.
The full report on the December inspection is available online for those who wish to learn more details.