Northwest Campus Dining and Aramark corrected several priority violations in its last food establishment inspection, in which the Nodaway County Health Center observed nine counts of infringement requiring immediate action.
Aramark received its annual health inspection April 16, a couple weeks prior to Northwest students finishing their spring semester finals. The campus food establishment operated under at least nine violations that the NCHC noted as priority violations, or those that must receive immediate correction within 72 hours of an inspection.
Aramark received core evaluations based on the inspection relating to time and temperature control for food safety, proper holding of hot and cold foods, cleaning of equipment and utensils and cleaning surfaces that come in contact with food.
All but three priority violations were corrected on site, while the others were corrected by the next follow-up inspection.
NCHC health inspector Larry Wickersham conducts Aramark’s routine inspections, where he said the management and staff seem committed to a safe and healthy kitchen environment.
“The heads of Aramark on the campus of Northwest work great with us,” Wickersham said. “They have performed very well in the past and are always good about fixing things not up to expectations.”
Averaging three priority violations per inspection, each immediately corrected on site, Aramark actually outperforms other food establishments in the area, according to the NCHC.
“April’s inspection – having nine violations – is the worst I’ve seen so far at Aramark,” Wickersham said. “The only one that comes close is a fall 2018 inspection where they had eight.”
However, in the past academic year, Aramark had 18 priority violations spelled out in inspection reports dating back to September. Each violation required reduction and prevention due to being hazards associated with foodborne illness or injury.
On the April 16 inspection, the NCHC located sliced cucumbers in the walk-in cooler without expiration dates and hazardous vegetables held past disposal dates.
In addition, the Mediterranean grill held hot sliced sausage below the sanitary temperature of 135 degrees Fahrenheit.
The health center noted three more counts of food under proper temperature and three counts of damaged utensils and kitchenware.
Aramark promptly corrected all violations by an April 30 follow up, where the NCHC noted exceptional levels of operation.
Assistant Food Service Director for Aramark Tyler Detherage said staff is committed to food quality and finding new ways to provide excellent service to their customers, primarily students on or off campus.
“We did bring in a new program, a digital platform that notifies you if your temperatures are flaring out a bit or to restock the food,” Detherage said. “It’s all just making sure you have the right people in the right place, making sure they are on top of things.”
In addition to the digital change, Aramark is looking to specialize its chef spotlight, a dish created by a kitchen staffer to bring new foods in for variety.
“We want to try to bring newer things in to kind of bring excitement, while also providing consistency with what we do,” Detherage said.
As Aramark commits to a healthy kitchen environment, it encourages students to provide input and educational insights.
“We have a student manager program, so we like to work with and recruit with business and nutrition majors,” Detherage said. “We are always trying to get them to come in and chit-chat to see what ways we can kind of help Bearcats become better Bearcats.”
Aramark’s next health inspection will be in September, where the company looks to improve from the April inspection.
“When you have food served buffet style, you’ve just got to be on top of temp stuff,” Detherage said. “And when you’re in the food business, there are going to be violations that show up every now and then … We are going to be keeping up on it.”