State health department cites Dining for 54 sanitation violations

Ball State University's dining facilities received 27 critical violations and 27 noncritical violations according to inspection reports.

The Indiana State Department of Health and Ball State environmental specialist Tom Russell inspected five campus dining facilities in September.

The Atrium received nine critical violations as well as seven noncritical violations. The violations included food being stored at improper temperatures, hand-washing stations in the kitchen being blocked, tartar sauce and cocktail sauce being stored past their expiration dates and salads not being date-marked.

Barnes and Noble Café received seven critical and seven noncritical citations. The citations included storing sandwiches at 41 degrees — six degrees higher than what is considered safe — and storing some sandwiches more than 24 hours without marking the date they were made and ready to eat.

The newly renovated food court in the L.A. Pittenger Student Center was inspected before its reopening in July. The food court didn't have any critical violations, but it did have 10 noncritical citations. During its inspection in September, though, they received five critical citations and six noncritical citations. Three of the noncritical violations were cited during the July inspection.

Egg salad at the salad bar in the Student Center was stored at improper temperatures and marinara sauce was held nine days past its expiration date. Cheese used at Taco Bell was also stored at improper temperatures.

Russell said that while the violations are an issue, they probably aren't as big of a deal as most people think. The violations most likely won't lead to any foodborne illness, he said.

"You usually have to have a number of critical problems at the same time," he said. "Those particular violations aren't a big concern unless they were acting together and recurring."

Tony Proudfoot, associate vice president of University Marketing and Communications, said even though there isn't a high risk for illness, steps are being taken to improve the dining facilities.

"We certainly aren't satisfied by any means at where we are with the inspections," he said. "We are taking steps by identifying a consultant to close gaps with the issues that we're facing."

Russell said part of Ball State's plan is to have two surprise health inspections a year.

"The number of violations isn't unusual," he said. "I don't consider the food service operations to be in bad condition at all. They're well equipped."

Freshman theater major Bradford Reilly said he'll continue to eat at the Atrium, but he's not thrilled about the violations.

"I think the food is good, but it's a little disgusting that they don't check the expiration dates," he said. "I had some friends say that at Woodworth they had yogurt two weeks over the expiration date at the beginning of the year."

Reilly also said he worries a little bit about illnesses stemming from food being stored at unsafe temperatures.

"Then again, some people eat steaks rare, right?," he said.


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