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 Sharp plastic found in student’s meal at dining hall opens the discussion for improvements

A student found a sharp piece of plastic in their meal this past week. The cafeteria is not largely known for its quality of food, but considering this is a true choking hazard, students are concerned.  

Joe O’Keefe, senior, is a member of the Student Government Association (SGA) and is the Chair of dining services. His goal is to bring concerns that the students have about dining services to the representatives and faculty members.  

O’Keefe meets with the Director of dining services, Craig Achenbach-Rice, bi-weekly to discuss specific food concerns. When the picture of the plastic was sent to O’Keefe, he immediately acted. 

“This isn’t just undercooked food or a bug, but this is a choking hazard,” said O’Keefe. 

He immediately went to the chef and Achenbach-Rice to report the hazard. They both made it their priority to get this figured out and not have this happen again. So far there is no explanation as to where the plastic came from. 

There have been other reports of undercooked food and bugs found in the food, but because there was no picture evidence, they were not able to address the issues. 

Mathew Gephardt, senior, goes to the cafeteria 5-7 times a week. He once found a grasshopper in his salad. 

“It made me very hesitant to eat the cafeteria food for a long time. I don’t have high expectations for the food, but convenience outweighs the alternatives,” said Gephardt. 

It is incidents like this that have encouraged SGA and Benedictines dining service, Aramark, to work together to create an easy way for reports to be made and addressed on campus.  

Soon there will be QR codes on the tables in the dining hall. If you believe your food is contaminated or undercooked, you will be able to take a picture of it and time stamp it 

The time stamp on this will provide Aramark with more information, therefore they will be able to effectively fix the issue. 

Thomas Garretson, freshman, depends on the dining hall food for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

“It’s not even that the food is bad, but there are not enough options. The school needs to offer more,” said Garretson. 

Dining services understand the current problems and they are doing their best to accommodate the students. 

At the beginning of this year, Aramark had 30 employees and they need 60 to function at the normal rate.  

Since the beginning of the semester, they have hired a total of 20 more workers. With these new hires, there are more options for the dining services to expand. 

“There are a lot of positive changes coming. Benedetto’s should be open very soon,” said O’Keefe. 

Benedetto’s will be open sometime this month. Their hours will be 10:30-1:30 P.M. on weekdays. They will have sandwiches, soups, and salads. They hope to add more hours and include burritos/burritos bowls when they hire more workers. 

Starting this month, they have decided to start serving food from local restaurants for lunch and dinner. Gambino’s pizza will be the first restaurant to partner with the dining services. 

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