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Editorial

Lack of food safety precautions creates concern

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April 24, 2014

The UW-River Falls community often relies on Sodexo Campus Services for meals throughout the week. Whether you live on campus and have a meal plan, a facility or staff member who occasionally stops in for lunch or you are visiting campus and need a bite to eat, Sodexo is your only option on campus.

In recent months, our personal experiences in Riverside Commons have left us feeling perturbed by how little of a priority that student health safety is to both Sodexo and University Dining Services.

Food allergies are a serious concern for the campus community. Whether you are allergic to peanuts, kiwi, shellfish or any other number of things, checking your ingredient labels is critical and trusting that the food supplier, such as Sodexo, will take precautions for cross contamination. However, after personal experiences, this does not appear to be the case.

Ingredient cards are placed in front of food options so students can see the nutritional content of what they are eating. However, more often than none, the ingredient cards have false information. For example, editorial board members had dinner in Riverside Commons on Wednesday, April 23. There was a plain chicken patty sandwich option as well as a “Buffalo Meltdown” chicken patty option. The identification cards for these products were switched and it was not possible to identify the differences. For those allergic to ingredients in the buffalo meltdown sandwich, they could have believed that the signs were correct and exposed themselves to a serious allergy.

Another incident that occurred on Wednesday, April 23, was during the lunch hours. In the potato bar section, the ingredient card read “Cheesy hash browns.” When scooped up and served onto a plate, it was noticed that the hash browns contained pork but it was not identified on the card.

Cross contamination should also be taken seriously. Another incident that was witnessed by editorial staff members was when a Sodexo worker refilled Clam Chowder soup and it splashed into the other soup next to it and it was left contaminated. For those who are allergic to shellfish or clams, this incident is a serious health hazard.

These problems that have been noticed by students and faculty can be fixed in a number of ways. The most important solution would to have employees be more aware of what is being served and double check to make sure ingredients are being properly labeled.

Not only could this be dangerous for students if they were to eat something that was mislabeled, it could also mean trouble for Dining Services and Sodexo for not taking the appropriate actions to make sure this type of incident does not happen.